Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate ratifies nuclear treaty

WASHINGTON — The Senate ratified the strategic nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia on Wednesday, fulfilling President Barack Obama's major foreign policy goal for the lame-duck session.

By a 71-26 vote, the Senate approved the treaty, known as New START, which Republicans had blocked.

Under the treaty, Russia and the United States agree to limit the number of nuclear warheads to 1,550 each, down from the ceiling of 2,200. The pact also establishes a system for monitoring and verification. The treaty was signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8.

Thirteen Republicans joined all of the Senate's Democrats in voting for ratification, helping to exceed the 67 votes required. Florida's senators split on the final vote, with Democrat Bill Nelson voting yes and Republican George LeMieux voting no. Three senators — all Republicans — were not present.

Even though passage had been expected, some Republicans continued their opposition right up to the final vote.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday morning, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, argued that the treaty should be defeated because it fails to address limits on tactical weapons, an area in which Russia has a numerical advantage. Tactical weapons are smaller and designed for use on the battlefield, as opposed to strategic weapons, which are delivered by missile, bomber or from a submarine.

Cornyn also cited past Republican objections including that the pact's "verification provisions are weak, allowing only 18 inspections a year for more than 1,500 weapons."

"And as we have discussed, the preamble is ambiguous," the Republican insisted, arguing it would limit the United States' ability to deploy a missile defense system.

Democrats insist that there is no linkage on missile defense and that the United States is free to deploy a system in Europe. The Obama administration has also argued that the treaty is needed to step up verification. Top Pentagon officials have backed the administration in recent briefings.

Debate ended in a burst of agreement after both sides accepted a bipartisan amendment designed to meet some GOP objections on the missile-defense issue. The changes do not affect treaty language, however. Russian officials warned Monday that they wouldn't renegotiate terms in the treaty, which still must be approved by the Russian parliament.

Earlier, the Senate approved $725.7 billion for military programs. The authorization includes $159.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House on Wednesday accepted the Senate version and sent the legislation to Obama for his signature.

Senate ratifies nuclear treaty 12/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.