Yesterday I blogged about President Obama’s reported $4.1 billion offer for nuclear weapons modernization, and how we all wondered if the measure could sway Sen. John Kyl (R.-Ariz.) towards supporting the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) between the U.S. and Russia. Well, the Arizona senator took his time to think about it. His answer? Thanks but no thanks.
“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization,” Kyl announced in a statement today. “I appreciate the recent effort by the Administration to address some of the issues that we have raised and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Kerry, DOD, and DOE officials.”
Both sides of the Start debate have considered Kyl the definitive Republican voice on the issue, and he’s already seeing some support from his fellow senators. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement championing Kyl’s lead.
Along with pointing out that “no major nuclear arms control treaty has ever been taken up in a lame duck,” Inhofe brings up why a nuclear arms treaty with Russia is even necessary.
“With this treaty, we are focusing on the wrong country regarding the efforts to stop nuclear proliferation and its direct threat to American security,” said Inhofe. “We need to focus our diplomatic and military efforts instead on the threats posed by countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria and China.” I'm sure more Republican statements will start rolling in over the next few days, so stay tuned.