Reported at the Heritage Foundation Foundry:
Morning Bell: Release the START Negotiating Record
Yesterday, the Senate voted 66–32 to begin debate on the New START agreement with Russia. Only a simple majority (51) was required, but vote counters can use yesterday’s roll call as a benchmark for final ratification, which will need 67 votes to pass. With the seating of Senator Mark Kirk (R–IL), the White House needs nine Republicans to join the Senate’s 58 Democrats. They got those nine yesterday, including Senators Bob Bennett (UT), Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Dick Lugar (IN), John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Olympia Snowe (ME), and George Voinovich (OH).
But of those, according to The Hill, only Lugar, Collins, and Snowe have fully backed ratification. And at least two of those nine went on record in favor of letting the next Congress be the treaty’s judge. Early yesterday, McCain took to former Senator Fred Thompson’s nationally syndicated radio show where he called the treaty “a good idea” but also said he has “serious concerns about the missile defense part of it” and wanted to vote on it next year. Meanwhile, Bennett attended a press conference organized by Senator Jon Kyl (R–AZ) where he told reporters: “I would hope that we could reach accord, and I would hope that it would be next year.”
President Obama’s New START creates an implementing body, called the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC), and gives it broad powers to promote the objectives of the treaty. These powers could include imposing additional restrictions on the U.S. missile defense program. This is an unacceptable cession of our national sovereignty. President Ronald Reagan walked away from Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer to eliminate nuclear weapons because he asked us to give up our missile defenses in return. No true conservative could support this treaty as it stands.
Peace through strength. Wimpy never wins.