Lame Duck Update: The START Treaty.


Last week, I mentioned START ratification as one of the four progressive goals for the lame-duck session. The commonsense treaty -- which would would reinstate ground inspections and reduce each country's deployed nuclear arsenal by 30 percent -- has been on shaky ground for awhile, thanks to GOP opposition. There were signs that the Obama administration had brokered a deal with Republicans, but as Laura Rozen reports at Politico, this seems to have fallen through:

Seemingly shutting the door on one of the Obama administration’s key goals for this lame-duck session of Congress, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that he does not think the Senate should vote to ratify the START treaty before the end of the year.

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization,” Kyl said in a statement.

“I appreciate the recent effort by the administration to address some of the issues that we have raised, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator [John] Kerry, DoD, and DoE officials.”

I'm going to go out there and suggest that Kyl never intended to come to a deal with the administration; the Republican strategy for the last two years has been to present the possibility of a deal, and then renege at the last possible moment. This fits the pattern. Senate Republicans see political gain in denying the administration a victory, and they will go for it, regardless of the consequences. Which, in this case, are moving the world a little closer to the possibility of nuclear destruction.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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