On CNN this morning, the Senate’s Republican Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced his opposition to the so-called New START arms control treaty currently being debated by his chamber. According to a rush transcript by Politico , Sen. McConnell told “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley:
I’ve decided I cannot support the treaty. I think the verification provisions are inadequate and I do worry about the missile defense implications of it….But an equally important question is how do the Russians view missile defense and how do our European allies view missile defense? And I’m concerned about it. I think if they’d taken more time with this – rushing it right before Christmas, it strikes me as trying to jam us. I think if they’d taken more time – I know the members of the Foreign Relations Committee spent a lot of time on this but the rest of us haven’t – and so all of a sudden we’re once again trying to rush things right here before Christmas Eve. I think that was not the best way to get the support of people like me.
No treaty in memory has ever passed the Senate without the Republican leader’s support.
Taken together with the consistent position of his deputy, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl – the most knowledgeable member of the Senate from either party on matters of nuclear policy and arms control – that there is simply not time for the Senate properly to consider and debate this accord, the handwriting should be on the wall for all members of the GOP caucus:
If this treaty is as good as the Obama administration and its other proponents insist, it will stand up well when subjected to the kind of close scrutiny, balanced hearings and informed deliberations that will only be possible next year. If it cannot, then it should not receive the Senate’s advice and consent now.
Another straw in the wind: On CBS’s Sunday show, “Face the Nation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – one of the swing legislators the administration has been feverishly trying to enlist – denounced the “poisonous atmosphere” the Democrats have created with their determination to jam seriously flawed legislation through the Senate. Sen. Graham indicates that he will also vote to have New START start over next year. So should all of his colleagues.