White House “Walking Away” from New START Deal
Last month, we highlighted the “duplicitous nature of the New START negotiations” and the apparent quid pro quo, which led too many Republicans Senators to support the treaty (or look the other way) based on a promise from President Obama to modernize America’s remaining nuclear arsenal. Now, CQ (sub. req’d) is reporting that lawmakers are once again concerned that President Obama is “walking away” from his commitment:
To appease some Republicans and secure the 67 votes necessary for Senate approval of the treaty, the White House pledged an additional $4.1 billion to be spent on nuclear modernization over five years. But Republicans are now concerned that the promised funding will be dropped amid budget-reduction efforts at the Pentagon.
In recent weeks, word leaked that the administration is considering deep cuts to the nuclear arsenal — perhaps slashing the number of strategic warheads from an estimated 2,152 to between 300 and 1,100 — prompting backlash from Republicans in both chambers.
It was a bad strategy that resulted in typically bad policy; in other words, typical Washington. Now, House lawmakers are trying to find a way out of the disarmament box constructed by their Senate colleagues. This should continue to serve as an important lesson for Senators and Representatives; especially as certain interest groups ramp up the quiet, though occasionally intense, pressure to approve the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).