GOP senators list SALT deficiencies

A great hue and cry was raised earlier this week when Senator John Kyl made it known that he would not support a vote on the SALT treaty in the lame duck session. Republicans were accused of everything from damaging national security to upsetting the Russians.

Yesterday, opposition senators published a laundry list of objections to the treaty; top among them, President Obama's refusal to detail his plans for modernizing our nuclear forces:

The Obama administration's plans to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons complex remain inadequate and should be further refined before the ratification of a new arms control treaty with Russia, the lead Senate Republican negotiator said Wednesday.

In a memorandum to his colleagues, the senator, Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the upper chamber and his party's point man on the treaty, called New Start, detailed his objections for the first time since declaring last week that there was not enough time to consider the treaty this year.

From the beginning, Mr. Kyl wrote, he has been clear that he "could not support reductions in U.S. nuclear forces unless there is adequate attention to modernizing those forces and the infrastructure that supports them." The administration has committed to spend more money for that purpose, but "there remain a few substantial concerns about the adequacy of the proposed budget," the memo said.

"Until these issues are resolved, it will be difficult to adequately assess the updated 1251 plan, despite the welcome increases in proposed spending," the memo added, using a term referring to the modernization proposal. "And as has always been clear, assurances from the appropriate authorizers and appropriators must be obtained to ensure that the enacted budget reflects the president's request."

Strangely, the administration shot back that the problems "predated" their time in office and that Obama now had a plan to address force modernization.

Not exactly. The "1251 Plan" referred to above was the Pentagon's wish list for modernizing our nuclear deterrent. There were several elements in it that Obama has refused to address. Indeed, his only promise so far is to build a new sub to replace our aging Tridents. No word on a new bomber or updated ICBM.

It is irresponsible to push for quick ratification when so many questions are outstanding. The administration should stop the scare mongering and work with the GOP so that the Republican concerns can be addressed.

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