GOP may hold START Treaty hostage over immigration reform, ‘don’t ask’ repeal
As the repeal of the military’s gay ban and a crucial vote on immigration reform edge closer, Republicans are finding more and more ways to derail the effort and run out the clock on the Democrats’ lame duck session.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), speaking from the Senate floor Friday, said many of his Republican colleagues may vote against the New START nuclear treaty with Russia if Democrats move forward with a plan to vote on “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal Saturday. He suggested that Democrats were ineffectual in asking for Republican bipartisanship on START while also moving to force a vote on immigration reform and ‘don’t ask.’
“I have to tell you what this has done,” Corker said. “I’ve been in three meetings this morning. What’s happening is it poisons the well on this debate on something that’s very, very important. I don’t want to see that happen. I’m not someone who comes down here and says fiery things to terrorize and divide. But I’m hoping that saner minds will prevail. I’m hoping that those will be taken down or I don’t think the future of the START treaty over the next several days is going to be successful based on what I’m watching.”
“These issues that have been brought forth are absolutely partisan political issues, brought forth to basically accommodate activist groups around this country,” he continued. “I’m hoping that those will be taken down or I don’t think the future of the START treaty over the next several days is going to be successful… I’m hoping that’s going to change.”
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent noted that he has heard rumors for days that Republicans would use the repeal of the military’s discrimination policy as an excuse not to pass START.
“This isn’t really a threat on Corker’s part,” Sargent wrote. “Rather, he’s saying — in a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger way — that his GOP colleagues will be less likely to support START unless Reid drops his plan for DADT and DREAM votes right away.”
President Obama has insisted that passage of the New START treaty is a national security imperative, and that every day it takes to ratify the US lacks verification of the Russian nuclear arsenal.
This video is from C-SPAN 2, broadcast Dec. 17, 2010.