The chairman of a US Senate committee on Tuesday delayed a vote on the new arms control treaty with Russia until at least the middle of next month, after months of effort to win backers produced scant Republican support.
Democratic Senator John Kerry had wanted the committee to vote on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) before the August recess that starts at the end of this week. He said he would bow to the requests of senators for more time to study the document.
US President Barack Obama signed the strategic arms agreement with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April and sent it to the Senate in May. Obama said he would like to see the Senate ratify it this year.
The treaty will need 67 votes to clear the Senate, meaning at least eight Republican votes are needed. Only one, Senator Richard Lugar, has so far publicly supported it, and in recent weeks, the treaty has drawn more Republican criticism as partisan rhetoric heats up ahead of Nov. 2 congressional elections.
The treaty would cut the number of nuclear warheads deployed in the US and Russia by about 30 percent.
“My interest is not in trying to jam this through,” Kerry told the committee at a business meeting. “I respect every senator’s right to further examine it.”
Kerry warned that without the treaty, there was no system in place to verify the two countries’ nuclear arsenals, by far the world’s largest. He said he hopes members can vote on it on Sept. 15 or 16 shortly after returning from a recess.
Lugar told the panel he had been prepared to vote now and “let the chips fall where they may.”
The treaty was needed because such documents provided “some visibility of what is going on” in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, he said.
“At some point we need to think about the United States of America and our security interests,” he said.
Lugar’s support meant the treaty would have been approved by the committee had it held the vote this week. But a panel vote might have irritated other Republicans, whose Senate leaders have been calling for more time.
A senior administration official said there was reason to believe more Republicans ultimately would be won over. Some Republicans have told the White House privately that “they expect to be there in the end” and vote for the new START, the official said, asking not to be named.
Key Senate Republicans have made several demands before they announce publicly whether they will support the treaty. They urged the Obama administration to release the record of negotiations to prove its assertion that there were no secret deals made with the Russians to limit missile defense systems.
To try to meet this demand, a summary of the negotiating record affecting missile defense has been made available to senators, Kerry told reporters.
The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, Jon Kyl, has sought White House commitments to modernize the US nuclear weapons that remain.
The administration pledged US$80 billion for this over 10 years but Kyl said a key test would be whether Congress approves some of the money for the next fiscal year.
Arms control advocates charge some Republicans are recklessly moving the goal posts — and seeking more arms spending for their own states.
“It is irresponsible and unnecessary for a few senators to hold New START and US national security hostage for billions more dollars for weapons laboratories,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
In the treaty, each side agreed to reduce the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550 within seven years, and reestablish on-site inspections.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year