(WASHINGTON) -- A group of ten newly-elected Republican senators urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday to wait until the new Congress convenes in January before considering the START nuclear weapons pact with Russia.
“Out of respect for our states’ voters, we believe it would be improper for the Senate to consider the New START Treaty or any other treaty in a lame duck session prior to January 3, 2011,” the 10 future GOP senators said in a letter to Reid.
Reid and a slew of other Senate Democrats, as well as President Obama, want to ratify the pact before the new Congress kicks off next year. Once January rolls around, the Democrats’ majority in the Senate will shrink by six seats, a big blow to the treaty’s possible ratification since 67 votes are needed in the Senate to pass it.
Thus far, Republicans have resisted Democrats’ efforts to round up support for the pact, with the chamber’s number-two Republican Jon Kyl voicing doubts earlier this week that the Senate can pass it during the lame-duck. Now the newly-elected Republicans -- a group that includes Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida -- want Reid to wait.
“Proponents of this treaty, aware that today’s Senate is likely to support the agreement in higher numbers without our participation, are urging the Senate to give its advice and consent in the coming weeks,” the newly-elected senators said to Reid. “We call on you to defer action on this arms control treaty until the Senate reconvenes in the 112th Congress and we are able to participate fully and in an informed manner in its deliberations on New START.”
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