WASHINGTON, D.C. – After weeks of stonewalling those opposed to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) today heeded the request of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the committee, allowing two witnesses opposed to the treaty to testify. After 16 hearings between the SASC and Senate Foreign Relations Committee that included 30 different witnesses, Drs. John Foster and Keith Payne today became the first and only two witnesses allowed to testify, offering an opposing view of the treaty.
“Having twenty-eight witnesses in favor of START and only two opposed is just a little bit uneven,” Inhofe said. “Nonetheless, I appreciate the fact that Chairman Levin filled my request to have at least some of the distinguished witnesses who oppose START offer their expert analysis. I appreciate Dr. Foster and Dr Payne providing their insight and concern over the treaty’s lack of verification procedures, limitations on our missile defense system, and most importantly our nation’s ability to deter nuclear threats on both the United States and our allies. This treaty is too important for the full Senate to consider with only a cursory view from those opposed to it. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to rush this treaty through the Senate. While committee hearings are ending, the fight over this treaty is just beginning. I will not allow the full Senate to consider ratification without having all the facts and the views of those opposed to this potentially perilous agreement.”