McConnell to lead anti-START forces in Senate

Rick Moran
This makes passage of START very doubtful:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the way, telling CNN's "State of the Union" that members of his party need more time to consider the START accord.

"I've decided I cannot support the treaty," McConnell said in his first outright rejection of ratifying the treaty during the current lame-duck session of Congress.

The treaty would resume mutual inspections of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, while limiting both nations to 1,550 warheads and 700 launchers each. On Sunday, Democrats rejected a Republican amendment to the treaty's preamble that would have added a reference to tactical nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the pact.

Republican senators are "uneasy" about the treaty, and trying to get a vote before Christmas was not the best way to "get the support of people like me," McConnell said.

His unequivocal stance increased the GOP's public opposition to ratification, which would require at least 10 GOP senators to vote with the Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority of 67 needed.

All McConnell has to do is sway one or two GOP senators who are leaning in favor of ratifying the treaty and it will die. It is unlikely that Harry Reid will bring the treaty to a vote unless he has the required number of supporters. A rejection would be a huge blow to Obama - something Reid will be careful to avoid.

Nevertheless, McConnell might fail in his effort. The national security argument appears to have influenced a number of Republicans and they could ignore the minority leader's importunings and vote for the treaty anyway.



This makes passage of START very doubtful:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the way, telling CNN's "State of the Union" that members of his party need more time to consider the START accord.

"I've decided I cannot support the treaty," McConnell said in his first outright rejection of ratifying the treaty during the current lame-duck session of Congress.

The treaty would resume mutual inspections of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, while limiting both nations to 1,550 warheads and 700 launchers each. On Sunday, Democrats rejected a Republican amendment to the treaty's preamble that would have added a reference to tactical nuclear weapons, which are not covered by the pact.

Republican senators are "uneasy" about the treaty, and trying to get a vote before Christmas was not the best way to "get the support of people like me," McConnell said.

His unequivocal stance increased the GOP's public opposition to ratification, which would require at least 10 GOP senators to vote with the Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority of 67 needed.

All McConnell has to do is sway one or two GOP senators who are leaning in favor of ratifying the treaty and it will die. It is unlikely that Harry Reid will bring the treaty to a vote unless he has the required number of supporters. A rejection would be a huge blow to Obama - something Reid will be careful to avoid.

Nevertheless, McConnell might fail in his effort. The national security argument appears to have influenced a number of Republicans and they could ignore the minority leader's importunings and vote for the treaty anyway.