Democrats Need Five to Prevent START's End

More

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee resumes consideration of the new START treaty with Russia today, and proceedings have already hit a wrinkle. The Cable's Josh Rogin reports that Sen. James Risch (R-ID) claims that the intelligence community brought to his attention a "stunning" something or other that would seriously complicate efforts to ratify the treaty. What that something is Risch won't say.

The State Department, Senate Democrats, and the intelligence community themselves say there is nothing substantially new in the intel stream.  Sen. John Kerry, the committee chair, acknowledges that the senators were very recently briefed on something that was new but said that it would not and should not affect the debate.

Before the August recess, senators were briefed on a specially prepared National Intelligence Estimate about the national security impact of ratification and whether the Russian government intended to fulfill its commitments. The State Department also released a verification report suggesting that, by and large, Russia has lived up to most of its earlier arms control promises in recent years.

Democrats have at least two Republican votes banked for START: Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), who authored the language that's currently up for debate, and Bob Corker (R-TN). Republican Sens. Johnny Isaakson of Georgia, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and John Barasso of Wyoming are maybe/probables. Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and James Inhofe (R-ID) are noes. Assuming all three committee Republicans who are maybes vote aye, that leaves the treaty five short of ratification on the floor. Somewhat scarily for Democrats, the final vote won't take place until after November, which is why a strong, bipartisan committee endorsement is important. ( If the vote is postponed until the next Congressional session, do the math: a "Sen." Angle would be a no, but a "Sen." Kirk would be a yes...as would a "Sen." Fiorina (probably) but not a "Sen" Rubio. "Sen." Toomey and "Sen." Johnson would probably be noes.)



Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In