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New START vote scheduled for mid-September

August 3, 2010

After over 2 months and 20 Senate hearings, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled the vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for mid-September.

On July 14th, seven former Commanders of the United States Strategic Command sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and the Senate Armed Services Committee strongly endorsing its ratification.  These retired military leaders were primarily responsible for America’s strategic nuclear forces so their endorsement of this treaty is a powerful validation.

They indicated that the new START Treaty would enhance American national security in myriad ways.  First, the continuance of a formal strategic arms reduction process will contribute to a more productive and safer relationship with Russia.  Second, the New START Treaty contains verification and transparency measures that will give us important insights into Russian strategic nuclear forces and how they operate those forces.  Third, although the New START Treaty will require U.S. reductions, the mutual reductions do nothing to give one country a tactical advantage over the other.  

A vote on the treaty is now expected in mid-September in the SFRC. Once it passes out of committee, it will be up to us to make sure that our Senators know that we want a floor vote as soon as possible. We can not have this important treaty delayed further by political calculation or lack of political will.

While all of the Democrats are expected to ratify the treaty, there are some Republicans who are leaning towards a “yes” vote but are pushing for concessions from the administration before casting their votes.  The question now is what is the price that  some Republicans will demand for their vote on this treaty. President Obama’s budget already represents an unprecedented increase in investment in our nuclear arsenal. Any further reductions would be counter to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We need your help. Learn more about the scope of the threat of nuclear weapons by finding a screening of “Countdown to Zero” (by the makers of An Inconvenient Truth) near you. Bring friends and family. Then sign a petition demanding Senate ratification of New START now!

Information on screenings and the petition can be found here.

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