WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday called on the Senate to ratify the new START treaty, saying the matter is "an urgent national priority."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted the enactment of economic legislation signed into law Friday, saying it will "help help grow our economy, spur businesses, and jumpstart job creation."
Obama said the legislation -- which temporarily extends 10-year-old federal tax cuts and continues benefit payments for long-term unemployed, among other things -- resulted from "our ability to come together to do what's best for middle class families across this country, and our economy as a whole."
"Before going away for the holiday break, I'm hopeful we can also come together on another urgent national priority -- and that is, the new START treaty that will reduce the world's nuclear arsenals and make America more secure," Obama said.
The president said the nuclear arsenals held 25 years ago by the United States and the former Soviet Union have been reduced by more than 70 percent.
"That progress would not have been possible without strategic arms control treaties," he said.
"During the past year, however, our old treaty with Russia expired, and without a new one, we won't be able to verify Russia's nuclear arsenal, which would undercut (former) President (Ronald) Reagan's call to trust, but verify, when it comes to nuclear weapons," Obama said.
The president said ratifying the START treaty is not about "winning a victory for an administration or a political party. It's about the safety and security of the United States of America."