Durbin: Time for a vote on START treaty

Dec. 19, 2010 at 12:20 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The Democratic party whip of the U.S. Senate said Sunday he believed the Obama administration had the votes needed to ratify the START nuclear arms treaty.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on "Fox News Sunday" that the necessary 67 votes were in place and that a vote was still possible before the lame-duck session of Congress adjourns.

"We have moved forward, and in the next several days it'll be one of the longest period of time that we've ever put on an important treaty," Durbin said.

Durbin said Republicans had bogged down the debate with proposed amendments to the treaty. "As of today, on the fifth day of debate, we voted on one amendment," he said. "There will be another raised this afternoon. I think we need to bring this to a vote."

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., responded that the Democratic leadership was partly to blame for the slow pace because it was packing too much into the finals days of the session.

Kyl also reiterated Republican objections to the treaty and refused to concede those issues just because the holidays were approaching. "We're just a rubber stamp for the administration and the Russians?" he said.

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