Senator Bingaman: START Negotiations In Congress
December 20, 2010 – The week before Christmas isn't likely to bring sugar plums to the U-S Senate. Partisanship continued last week and into this past weekend as lawmakers couldn't agree on a long-term budget and other major pieces of legislation. One of the issues remaining is the re-ratification of the START Treaty between the U-S and Russia.
The pact allows both countries inspections of each other's nuclear arms stockpiles in the spirit of reducing the numbers of the weapons. On the issue, New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman says he's had briefings on the Armed Services Committee and has gotten classified information from the military "and it's pretty clear to me that it's very much in our national interest to go ahead and ratify this treaty. At the current time we do not have the right to go into Russia and monitor on the ground the obligations, and their compliance with the obligations they've made with regard to their nuclear weapons. This will give us, and it's important that we have them."
Some Senate Republicans have said Democrats are trying to make them look bad in the lame-duck session by pushing issues like the tax-cuts-extension and the START treaty. Approval of the treaty is currently President Obama's top foreign relations priority.
Bingaman says Republicans don't want Obama to have another victory, and adds, in his words, "unfortunately that is coloring the attitude" of some G-O-P Senators. 67 votes are required in the Senate to re-ratify the START treaty.