WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the follow statement after announcing that a vote on the New START Treaty would be rescheduled:
“Today I informed members of the Foreign Relations Committee that a vote on the New START Treaty will be rescheduled for after the August recess. This was in response to requests from some colleagues for more time to review materials concerning the treaty’s ratification, including reports from the Armed Services and Intelligence committees that have not yet arrived. We have the votes to report the treaty out of Committee now. However, in consultation with Senator Lugar, I chose to reschedule the vote to be responsive to the concerns of our members so that we can build bipartisan consensus around a treaty that our military leaders all agree will make America safer.
“I strongly believe that timely ratification of this treaty is vital to America’s security. It will strengthen our relationship with Russia and enhance the global non-proliferation regime, furthering our efforts to deal with serious potential threats from Iran, North Korea and loose nuclear materials. And it will restore much needed visibility into Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which has been diminishing every day since the original START Treaty and its verification provisions expired in December.
“That is why I emphasized to members of the Committee at our meeting this afternoon that they should be prepared to mark up a resolution of advice and consent soon after we return from recess. This will give senators ample time to complete their review of the relevant materials. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to working with Senator Lugar and members of the Committee to craft a resolution of ratification that can enjoy broad bipartisan support.”
Beginning in late April, the Foreign Relations Committee conducted 12 open and classified hearings, featuring more than 20 witnesses, including the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, and the director of the Missile Defense Agency. It heard from the directors of the nation’s three nuclear weapons laboratories, and received written testimony from the man who oversaw them for President George W. Bush. The Committee conducted a closed hearing with high-ranking intelligence officials. Committee members questioned the Treaty’s negotiators on multiple occasions, in open and closed sessions. The Committee also heard from high-ranking members of the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 administrations. Overwhelmingly, these witnesses supported timely ratification of the New START Treaty. Some of the strongest endorsements came from America’s current and former military leaders.
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