New START Treaty Ratified Without Senator Grassley's Vote

by Paul Deaton

After doing little to elucidate his position on the New START Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation during the past eight months, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) finally disclosed it by voting “NO” in the final vote for the treaty’s ratification this afternoon. The treaty was ratified in a vote of (71-26).

The ratification vote occurred after every proposed amendment to the treaty was voted down and 67 Senators voted for cloture yesterday. In the final hours of debate, a unanimous consent agreement was reached between the proponents and opponents of the treaty to modify the resolution of ratification to accommodate Republican concerns about modernization of the nuclear complex and other issues.

Yesterday, Global Security Newswire reported, “the Russian State Duma could vote before 2011 to ratify a new nuclear arms control treaty with the United States if the U.S. Senate endorses the pact.”

There has been discussion by the corporate media that there was a “collapse” of Republican support for the treaty. (See Rich Lowry’s article in the National Review). What is closer to the truth is that the Republican Senate caucus played their cards close to the vest as Blog for Iowa has previously written (See Josh Rogan’s article in The Cable).

With the notable exception of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), few Republicans publicly stated their position on the treaty until the floor debate was imminent in the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. Senator Grassley demonstrated discipline in keeping his view of the treaty’s merits out of view, along with other members of the caucus . His “No” vote was suspected but not verified until he cast it. In his closing remarks before the final vote, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said he did not urge his Republican colleagues to oppose the New Start Treaty and the discipline of Republican Senators supporting the treaty was demonstrated during the process.

A special thanks to the many BFIA readers who contacted Iowa’s senators to urge ratification and who offered help, for which the author is grateful.

~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of Blog for Iowa.


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