Repub­li­cans fail to amend arms pact with Rus­sia in United States

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

WASHINGTON: Democrats moved to bring Pres­i­dent Barack Obama's strate­gic nu­clear arms treaty with Rus­sia to a fi­nal vote in the Se­nate this week but ris­ing Repub­li­can anger over par­ti­san­ship threat­ened to de­rail the ac­cord.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid took steps to limit de­bate on the START treaty and force a vote by Thurs­day be­fore law­mak­ers break for Christ­mas, a move that could fur­ther up­set Repub­li­cans frus­trated by the rush to push through bills in the fi­nal days of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

Se­nate Repub­li­can leader Mitch McCon­nell and Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham an­nounced on Sun­day they would vote against the pact, in part be­cause they feel the Democrats' crowded leg­isla­tive agenda has left lit­tle room for de­bate.

"If you re­ally want to have a chance of pass­ing START, you'd bet­ter start over and do it in the next Congress be­cause this lame-duck has been poi­soned," Gra­ham said, re­fer­ring to the leg­isla­tive ses­sion that fol­lowed the Novem­ber con­gres­sional elec­tions.

Gra­ham, who joined Democrats in vot­ing to bring the treaty to a de­bate in the Se­nate, told CBS's "Face the Nation" pro­gram "I'm not go­ing to vote for START" in the cur­rent leg­isla­tive ses­sion that ends in early Jan­uary. He had been con­sid­ered a po­ten­tial sup­porter of the ac­cord.

Democrats have been push­ing to pass the treaty be­fore the new Congress takes of­fice be­cause their Se­nate ma­jor­ity was re­duced from 5842 to 53-47. The treaty could also face weeks of de­lay as more than a dozen new law­mak­ers get up to speed on the is­sue. The treaty needs 67 votes for ap­proval in the 100-mem­ber Se­nate. It moved to the Se­nate floor for de­bate with a twothirds ma­jor­ity that in­cluded Gra­ham. The sen­a­tor's de­ci­sion to vote against it raised ques­tions about whether Democrats could ul­ti­mately muster the votes for pas­sage.

But Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and other top Democrats expressed con­fi­dence they would ul­ti­mately have the votes to ap­prove the pact. Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" pro­gram if Democrats had the votes, Bi­den said "I be­lieve we do." The New START treaty, signed by Obama and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev in April, would re­quire the for­mer Cold War ad­ver­saries to cut de­ployed strate­gic nu­clear war­heads to no more than 1,550 each within seven years.

It also would re­duce the num­ber of de­ployed strate­gic mis­siles and bombers to 700 for each side and es­tab­lish a ver­i­fi­ca­tion and in­spec­tion sys­tem to en­sure they abide by terms of the agree­ment.

De­bate on the treaty was ex­pected to con­tinue at least through Tues­day, with Repub­li­cans plan­ning to seek ad­di­tional changes to both the treaty and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing res­o­lu­tion of rat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors concerned about the large dis­par­ity in tac­ti­cal, short-range nu­clear weapons be­tween Rus­sia and the United States ral­lied be­hind a treaty-killing amend­ment on Sun­day that would have in­serted a ref­er­ence to the is­sue in the pre­am­ble of the ac­cord. The amend­ment was de­feated 6032. Demo­cratic Sen­a­tor Robert Casey said mem­bers of both par­ties were concerned about Rus­sian tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons but there was a sim­ple rea­son the New START nu­clear treaty did not ad­dress them­be­cause it is an agree­ment deal­ing with strate­gic, or lon­grange, atomic arms.

Rus­sia is be­lieved to have about 2,000 de­ployed tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons, ver­sus 500 for the United States, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Sci­en­tists. -Ap

VIET­NAM: Photo taken shows ships un­der re­pair at Vi­nashin's Nam Trieu ship­build­ing fac­tory in Hai Phong city. Viet­nam's nearly-bank­rupt ship­builder Vi­nashin faced a debt pay­ment dead­line. -Ap

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