Kerry: START Vote “Long Time Coming”

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Ahead of Senate vote Wed, Mass. Dem urges passage of “national security imperative.”

Chairman Kerry On Proceeding To New START

Washington, D.C.—Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today released the following statement on the start of debate on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START):

“Today the Senate will take up the New START Treaty. This has been a long time coming. The process began last spring. The meetings, briefings, and hearings have been exhaustive. The questions have been answered. The only question that remains is whether or not we will be remembered for approving New START and making America safer, or for finding excuses to delay and defer our core responsibility as senators.

“This afternoon will be the first test. Will we begin a fair, robust debate or will some opt to employ procedural tactics that have no substantive basis in an effort to stall, derail, and delay? Let’s debate, but we must not needlessly put off consideration of New START.

“To anyone who says, there’s no time, especially after they’ve been given so much more time already, I’d say look at the Senate’s history on nuclear arms treaties. The original START agreement was a far more dramatic treaty than New START, with far deeper cuts at a time when the Soviet Union had just collapsed. But the full Senate needed only five days of floor time before it approved that treaty by a vote of 93 to 6. The START II Treaty took only two days on the floor before we approved it 87 to 4. The Moscow Treaty took only two days on the floor before the Senate approved it by a vote of 95 to 0. This isn’t a question of time, it is a question of priorities, a question of willpower not capacity. This treaty is a national security imperative, and now is the time to act.”

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