Why I May Filibuster New START

by Sen. Jim DeMint

Many of us have been concerned that the START Treaty would weaken our national security, and recent revelations of previously undisclosed talks with Russia on missile defense and movement of Russian tactical nuclear warheads only raise more questions that must be answered. I’ve asked for the full negotiating records, as have been provided to the Senate on previous treaties, but the Obama administration has continually denied that request and promised that missile defense was never part of the negotiations with Russia. But we have now learned that the State Department did in fact meet with Russia to specifically discuss missile defense, after months of denying these discussions ever took place.

With the additional news that Russia moved warheads near the borders of our NATO allies this spring — warheads that are conspicuously not covered by START — it’s time to get some straight answers and for the State Department to provide the full negotiating records. The START Treaty could severely weaken America’s ability to defend our people and our allies against missile attacks from nations like Iran, and we need all of the facts on how this treaty was agreed to.

Additionally, I will use every tool available to oppose an attempt to rush the debate over the START Treaty during this lame-duck session of Congress. The newly elected Republican senators have signed a letter asking our leadership to postpone debate on START until they take office in a few weeks and have ample time to review the details. Americans didn’t vote in November to ram through the Obama administration’s wish list this December.

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) is chairman of the Senate Steering Committee and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.