New START’s “quid pro quo” Stops

In the waning days of 2010, the Senate ratified President Obama’s New START Treaty.  Many Republicans Senators supported the treaty based on a promise from President Obama to modernize America’s remaining nuclear arsenal – it was a typical Washington quid pro quo.

Just days before the vote, former energy secretary Spencer Abraham warned: 

…it is misguided to suggest that support is warranted as a quid pro quo for the administration’s belated decision to ramp up its investment in our nuclear defense complex. Neither Jon Kyl nor any other senator should cast a vote for START—or any other significant measure—because the president and his team have come to their senses on a matter as critical to our national security as the modernization of the weapons complex. 

Today, the “quid pro quo” story rears its ugly head once again.  From CQ (sub. req’d): 

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican accused the administration of breaking faith with members of his party who backed the New START treaty ratified in 2010.

Sen Jon Kyl of Arizona, who negotiated with the administration to secure more than $4 billion in nuclear forces, weapons and facilities modernization over five years, said Thursday that plans to reduce spending over the next 10 years effectively eliminate the funding President Obama promised to use for modernization. 

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who supported the treaty, joined the conversation on the Senate floor, saying, “I doubt the new START treaty would have been ratified without” the promise of modernization funding.

No one should be surprised.  Again, from CQ: 

Kyl suggested, however, that perhaps the president was opportunistically using the deficit problem to do with the nuclear forces what he had always intended — to reduce them.

The duplicitous nature of the New START negotiations should serve as a cautionary message to Senators who are under quiet, though occasionally intense, pressure to approve the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

 

 

 

 

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