John Kerry Pushes START towards Goal

Senator John Kerry has pushed the START treaty towads the goal line garnering the nine Republican votes the Senate needed to ratify the nuclear treaty this week. Among the votes scored is the junior Senator from Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown.

Brown(R-Mass.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he would vote to ratify the treaty and also support a motion to end debate, which the Senate will consider Tuesday.

“I believe it’s something that’s important for our country and I believe it’s a good move forward,” Brown said after emerging from a classified briefing in the Old Senate Chamber.

On the Senate floor this morning, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell made it clear this morning that he wasn’t going to support the new START treaty, calling it a “flawed, mishandled treaty.” Needless to say John Kerry tore into McConnell in response:

The NY Times reports that the new START treaty has “become the defining final test for President Obama’s legislative agenda before the current Congress adjourns for good.”

He has called it critical to the relationship with Russia and the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons…

The treaty requires the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear stockpiles so that within seven years of ratification neither deploys more than 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 launchers. It would also require the resumption of on-site inspections that lapsed last December when the original Start treaty expired.

Passing the new START treaty isn’t just a “defining” moment for President Obama. The Boston Globe notes that “winning passage of START is one of the greatest challenges” of Kerry’s 25-year Senate career and “the outcome could have a significant impact on his legacy.”

Kerry remained confident yesterday, saying, “I believe we have the votes to pass this treaty.”

“If Kerry is successful, it means he comes out of the shadow of Ted Kennedy,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University who studies Congress, referring to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the late Massachusetts Democrat. “This is a career turning point and if he succeeds he lays claim to being a legislator of the first order.”

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