Just got back from a successful two-day trip to New York City for major donor visits and a conference on UN-civil society partnerships keynoted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It was the third time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak, he was brief but powerful and to the point, focused on the UN’s role in working on climate change, development, humanitarian relief and disarmament. He was very blunt about the need for the US Senate to ratify New START, and for continued progress on nuclear disarmament. He is very strong in his convictions, and sincere in wanting strengthened partnerships with non-governmental organizations in the US and worldwide.
Below is an update on the progress in the Senate on New START from the indefatigable David Culp of FCNL.
To: NGO Colleagues
From: David Culp, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Re: New START Treaty Update
Date: December 15, 2010
As most of you know, the START treaty is now on the Senate floor. This afternoon, the Senate voted 66-32 to bring the treaty up. All Democrats and Independents voted “yes,” with the exception of Bayh who missed the vote. (He will vote for the treaty.) Thus, we have two thirds of the Senate in favor of ratification.
Nine Republicans voted to begin debate on the treaty: Sens. Bennett, Brown (MA), Collins, Graham, Lugar, McCain, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich. They should get “thank you” emails for their votes today.
We believe we will pick up additional Republicans on final passage. Most likely swing votes are Sens. Chambliss, Corker, Crapo, Grassley, Gregg, Isakson, and LeMieux.
Also possible are Sens. Alexander, Brownback, Cochran, Hatch, and Kirk.
FCNL has provided a toll-free telephone number (888) 475-8162 to the Capitol switchboard. We will keep the number up until the treaty is ratified or we run out of money. Feel free to share it with your constituents.
At some point this week, the Senate will stop working on START and move to take up the appropriations bill. That bill will take several days. After the Senate completes floor action on the appropriations bill, it will return to START. There will be additional days of debate on amendments and eventually final passage. Majority Leader Reid has committed to keep the Senate in session until the treaty is done. The Senate will be in session this Saturday and perhaps on Sunday. A final vote on the treaty could come this weekend or next week. The Senate may be in session through Christmas Eve.
What to Do
Ask your constituents to call their senators, in particular those listed above. Ask them to support the START treaty. Remember the toll-free telephone number is (888) 475-8162.
We have gotten to this point because of the tremendous effort of dozens of national and local organizations. We are very close to a major victory—but we are not there yet.