ABC News’s Jake Tapper reports that it is “unclear” whether Democrats can find the eight Senate Republican votes it would take to secure the two-thirds majority needed to ratify the START agreement.
My two cents, they’ll definitely get the votes — not least because the Republicans’ top foreign policy guy, realist Sen. Dick Lugar (R., Ind.) seems inclined to support it. Though, there is a small chance Senator Kyl (R., Ariz.) and some others might take a shot at trading START for missile defense (and more power to ‘em).
Meanwhile, old Republican national security hands are already starting to come out of the woodwork and warn Senate GOPers off of obstructing the treaty on political grounds.
Richard Burt, a Reagan/Bush I nuclear hand in the State Deparment, told reporters:
I can say as a former political appointee of two Republican administrations, it will be very difficult for anybody to come up with a strong set of coherent arguments against this treaty. This treaty itself does not take sweeping steps to reduce either the United States or Russian deployed arsenal…..It’s a very small step toward further reductions.
And Republican Clinton-SecDef-appointee William Cohen told CNN’s Andrea Mitchell that “politics has no place” in the debate about the treaty.