START TREATY PASSES COMMITTEE; INHOFE OPPOSES

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia by a vote of 14-4. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the committee, voted against the new treaty and offered two amendments that ultimately failed by a 5-14 vote. Inhofe’s amendments would have prohibited the treaty from coming into effect until President Obama provides Congress with a plan to develop, fund, and replace our nation’s nuclear stockpile and required the President of the United States to develop and field a more robust missile defense capability for the United States.  

Since President Obama and Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev signed START last April, Inhofe has remained critical of this treaty because it reduces our nation’s nuclear stockpile without ensuring modernization its nuclear triad and supporting infrastructure, contains language limiting U.S. missile defense development and deployment, lacks verification procedures that would ensure compliance and deter cheating and fails to deter proliferation.  

“Today’s committee vote is an example where liberals are willing to sacrifice America’s national security,” said Inhofe. “I remain concerned that START will have devastating consequences to our national security because the current language does not ensure the United States modernizes its nuclear arsenal which is an important deterrent for both the United States and our allies. My amendment would have ensured there was a fully funded plan to modernize our nuclear weapons. Currently, the average age of a United States nuclear weapon is 26 years old, and most of these weapons are 15 years or more beyond their design life. This is unacceptable and must be changed if our nation wishes to maintain a credible deterrent to countries like North Korea, Syria, Iran and others who pose a dangerous threat.”

Inhofe continued, “I will continue to oppose this treaty on the Senate floor until positive changes are made. This includes advancing our missile defense systems and establishing a responsible verification process.  Without these changes, I see this treaty as an irresponsible move by the Administration as it sacrifices the safety of our nation and its citizens.”

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