Today marks the 18th anniversary of the Senate's approval of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with a vote of 93-6. This groundbreaking treaty, negotiated by both the Ronald Reagan Administration and the George H.W. Bush Administration, reduced the number of strategic nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Russian arsenals and set up a system of inspections and verification that ensured stability between the two superpowers. The START Treaty expired exactly 300 days ago, leaving the United States without crucial on-the-ground inspections and other verification mechanisms of Russian strategic nuclear forces.
To remedy this, the New START Treaty is now working its way through the Senate. Like the START Treaty, the New START Treaty advances some of our most critical national security objectives and will provide stability and predictability between the world's two leading nuclear powers. New START will also restore crucial on-the-ground inspections and other verification mechanisms of Russian strategic nuclear forces that began with the START Treaty.
Secretary Clinton met with Senator Kerry yesterday on Capitol Hill, where they discussed the Foreign Relations Committee's recent strong, bipartisan 14-4 vote to move New START to the Senate floor. The Secretary said:
"This vote that was in the Committee demonstrates unequivocally that national security is a bipartisan commitment. As we have seen with every arms control agreement, going back to the original START 1 treaty that was passed, ratified by the Senate 18 years ago tomorrow, this is an obligation and responsibility that senators addressed without regard for the day-to-day politics…[S]upport for New START by our entire military leadership, our intelligence community, six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense, three former national security advisors, and seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command is an extraordinary endorsement of why this treaty needs to be passed, and passed in the lame duck session."
National security is unequivocally a bipartisan responsibility. The Senate has consistently supported treaties like the START Treaty, the INF Treaty and the Moscow Treaty on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. The full Senate will have a chance to vote on the New START in the lame duck session and will once again have the chance to demonstrate to the American public and the world that Senators from both sides of the aisle can come together to support an agreement that is clearly in the best interest of the American people and international security .
To learn more about the New START Treaty, click here.