The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Will GOP Senators Block the Russia Nuke Deal?

After months of negotiations, the U.S. and Russia have agreed on a wide-ranging series of mutual reductions in their massive nuclear arsenals. Arms control

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Mar 25, 2010

After months of negotiations, the U.S. and Russia have agreed on a wide-ranging series of mutual reductions in their massive nuclear arsenals. Arms control advocates are over the moon, as they contend that a deal to reduce the two major nuclear powers’ stockpiles will reinvigorate the rules of the arms-control world, leading to stiffer penalties for violators. The Washington Post reports details of the deal:

Each side will reduce its most dangerous nuclear weapons — those deployed for long-range missions — from a ceiling of 2,200 to between 1,500 and 1,675. And the two militaries will make relatively small cuts in the number of jets and land- or submarine-based missiles that carry nuclear warheads and bombs.

That’s the substance of the deal known as New START. But it requires Senate ratification, which in turn requires a grueling 67 Senate votes. So the political calculation is roughly this: having lost on health care, will Senate Republicans really give the Obama administration another victory on, of all things, nuclear arms control, a principle they largely don’t accept? In an election year?

Josh Rogin recently reported that Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the Republican dean of arms control, said he was “hopeful that it will be signed and that there will be time assigned on the floor for debate and a vote this year.” But Lugar’s Foreign Relations Committee counterpart, chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), told Rogin he has “no idea” if the votes are there. Presuming partisan polarization, Lugar is either the 59th or the 60th vote, depending on Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) mood. Who are the other seven or eight?

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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