Nuclear Arms Treaty Clears Biggest Senate Hurdle

Vote to end debate makes passage all but certain tomorrow
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2010 2:45 PM CST
Republican Whip Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., left, stands as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to the media about the New START Treaty on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Neither supported it.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – It looks like President Obama's full-court press on the New Start treaty will give him his top foreign policy priority of the year. The Senate today voted 67-28 to end debate on the nuclear arms pact with Russia, all but assuring final passage tomorrow. Democrats needed at least nine Republicans to back the deal because of the two-thirds majority necessary for approval, and they got the magic number—with two to spare—today.

“We are on the brink of writing the next chapter in the 40-year history of wrestling with the threat of nuclear weapons," said John Kerry. Among other things, it would limit the US and Russia to 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers, reports the Washington Post. GOP opponents criticized the pact's verification procedures and loopholes, notes the New York Times. “The administration did not negotiate a good treaty,” said John Kyl. "They went into negotiations, it seems to me, with the attitude with the Russians just like the guy that goes into the car dealership and says, ‘I’m not leaving here until I buy a car.’”

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