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. Shore Acres residents adjusting to 40th Avenue bridge closure

    Roads

    ST. PETERSBURG — Nina Pollauf, principal of Shore Acres Elementary School, worried last Friday when she heard about the 40th Avenue bridge closing for emergency repairs.

    A group from the engineering firm Kisinger Campo & Associates assess the situation on the 40th Avenue bridge.. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  2. Powerball jackpot climbs to $510 million, 8th largest

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $510 million, making it one of the largest in U.S. history.

    A store clerk pulls a Powerball ticket from the printer for a customer, Tuesday, in Hialeah, Fla. The Powerball jackpot has has rolled 18 times, since the June 14, drawing, resulting in an estimated $510 million for Wednesday night's drawing. [Associated Press]
  3. Photo of the Day for August 17, 2017 - 'Keeping a watchful eye'

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from George Capaz of Wesley Chapel, FL. The photo was taken at a small roadside lake at Bruce B. Downs Blvd and Cross Creek Blvd.

  4. Jerseys worn by Tim Tebow fans commemorate the various phases of his athletic career

    Minors

    Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]
  5. Online studies, off-campus sites drive growth of Saint Leo University

    College

    ST. LEO — When Arthur Kirk became president of what was then Saint Leo College in 1997, the school was on the brink of bankruptcy. Enrollment had dropped; deficits had climbed. Faculty salaries were depressed. It seemed that every roof on campus leaked.

    MONICA HERNDON   |   TimesMelanie Storms, vice president of Saint Leo WorldWide is shown on Saint Leo's main University Campus in eastern Pasco County. WorldWide is a new branch of the Catholic university that streamlines online courses and operates satellite education centers.