This is another piece of good news for the Obama administration, following the November election's bad news. Despite much wrangling and some real cliff-hangers, Congress is doing much its intended work. Republicans have had to decide whether to take the voters' "yes" (to getting things done) answer. There is a new breeze blowing through Washington, even if it is a cold winter blast at times.
WASHINGTON -- A top Democrat predicted Monday that the Senate will approve a new arms control treaty with Russia, but conceded that it will take "house by house combat" to collect enough votes from recalcitrant Republicans to prevail.
Undeterred by McConnell's opposition, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Sunday night that the Senate would vote Tuesday to end debate on the treaty and move to a final vote.
s to get their hands on a nuclear weapon," Reid said, adding that the debate soon "will com
"It is time to move forward on a treaty that will help reverse nuclear proliferation and make it harder for terrorists to get their hands on a nuclear weapon," Reid said, adding that the debate soon "will come down to a simple choice: you either want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, or you don't."
The White House and Democrats are determined to win approval of the treaty before January, when Republicans increase their numbers in the Senate, dimming its outlook. During a rare Sunday session of the Senate, Democrats turned back a GOP amendment to change the treaty, which would have effectively killed it.
Several Republicans said Obama's letter to congressional leaders Saturday vowing to move ahead on missile defense carried considerable sway.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the accord - it is known as New START - in April. It would limit each country's strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from the current ceiling of 2,200. It would also establish a system for monitoring and verification. U.S. weapons inspections ended a year ago with the expiration of a 1991 treaty.
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After several hours of debate Sunday, the Senate voted 60-32 to reject a measure to add language on tactical nuclear weapons to the treaty's preamble, which would have forced it back to negotiations, dooming the accord. Republicans Bennett, Lugar and Tennessee's Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander voted with the Democrats. It marked the second time in two days that Democrats had stopped GOP amendments.