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Posted at 6:03 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Sen. Scott Brown to support START treaty

By Felicia Sonmez


Credit:Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) announced Monday evening that he will vote for ratification of the New START treaty, becoming the latest Republican to come out in favor of the U.S.-Russia nuclear pact.

"I've done my due diligence, and I'm going to be moving for cloture and ... supporting the START treaty," Brown told reporters after the Senate met in closed session for an intelligence briefing on the treaty. "I believe it's something that's important for our country, and I believe that it's a good move forward to deal with our national security issues."

In announcing his position on the treaty, Brown said it was important to evaluate the information and get beyond party politics in coming to a decision.

"It's a question of gathering the information, learning about the issue, making a determination and doing what's in the best interests of our country," he said. "I think it's important here to bring a new way of thinking, and that's to get past the party politics and learn about the issues and then make a decision."

Earlier Monday afternoon, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) told reporters that he was leaning toward supporting the treaty.

"I think my colleagues have a right to have their points and their amendments discussed," Gregg said. "I am leaning toward supporting the treaty, but I want to make sure our side gets a fair hearing."

With the addition of Brown and Gregg to the "yea" column, the treaty appears to be nearing the threshold needed for ratification; the support of two-thirds of the Senate is needed to ratify a treaty, meaning Senate Democrats need at least nine Republicans to join them if the measure is to pass.

Other Republicans who have come out in favor of START include Sens. Richard Lugar (Ind.), George Voinovich (Ohio), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Bob Bennett (Utah). Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he hasn't made a decision yet but that progress was being made on addressing his concerns about the treaty.

"I voted for it out of committee, and I said at that time that there were some caveats," Corker said. "It appears to me that the caveats that I've laid out are going to be dealt with."

While some momentum appears to be building among Republicans, others are digging in their heels. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters Monday that he was leaning against supporting START, calling it part of a Democratic-led lame-duck session full of "special-interest politics."

"My hat's off to the Democratic leadership," Graham said. "They're running rings around us. ... They're like Sherman going through Georgia."

Graham also blasted his Republican colleagues for pushing ahead on START instead of waiting until the new Congress convenes.

"It's almost like Republicans are afraid of the new Congress," he said. "New members on the Republican side shouldn't be feared, they should be respected."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said after Monday's closed-door meeting that he expected that the treaty would win enough votes for ratification.

"Obviously, some people had made up their minds on both sides, and I'm not sure that it changed anybody's mind," Kerry said of the closed-door session. "But I do think that for the people who were in a state of trying to figure out one thing or the other, that it was very instructive, helpful and good for the Senate."

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 20, 2010; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: Kyl: Senate Democrats "very partisan" on START Treaty

Comments

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Thanks Scott Brown for abandoning the conservative family values and putting the entire country at risk of diease and death.

Posted by: boski66 | December 21, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

its a bad treaty... but then, that's what Obama wants. Anything to weaken America

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | December 20, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse"

You prefer loose nukes? This one was a no brainer, pal, as are you. Every other treaty of this sort has been signed on a bi-partisan basis, always. Now people like mac and mitch have made it a big deal by acting like petulant children, who didn't get a prize at the birthday party. If they keep behaving this way, they're going to lose the "prize" they got in the midterms.

Posted by: Koko3 | December 21, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Heckuva job, Brownie

This is one of the most mundane votes that comes up before the Senate. This treaty, more benign than the very first one is being drummed up to be a vital one, of paramount importance.

When it is approved, and it'll be approved, it'll be hailed by Obama as a great victory. A triumph for national security.

As you GOP goobers seethe in anger, remember that without the Republicans dragging their feet needlessly on this, this would have been approved without the fanfare it deserves.

There is a time to say NO, and this wasn't it. The GOP will look like major obstructionists. ALL BECAUSE OF SPITE

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | December 20, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell is acting like a petulant school kid. Grow up already!

Posted by: jtmontclair | December 20, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse


its a bad treaty... but then, that's what Obama wants. Anything to weaken America

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | December 20, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

National security should never be submerged under partisan politics. Sadly that's exactly what most of the Republican Senators are doing. Some have actually admitted they don't want START passed because it would be a victory for the President.

That's just plain treasonous -- and I don't use that word lightly. You can bet that if any Democratic Senator ever said she'd vote against a treaty because it would be a victory for President Bush, she would have been rapidly and broadly attacked for being unAmerican and traitor.

But that's exactly what these Republican Senators are doing. Have they no sense of decency? Have they no conscience? Have they no moral compass?

Posted by: dl49 | December 20, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I am personally disappointed in his decision. The Russians can't be trusted. These same cretins just finished helping the Iranians install their nuclear capability. Instead of demonstrating our displeasure, Obama and his leftist fools are rushing to pass this flawed bill. Getting in a rush before the new session of Congress is seated. Bad business

Posted by: nomobarry | December 20, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Good for Senator Brown. Some in the GOP promised to hold up START if DADT was repealed. So now the GOP is in the position of having tanked the first responders bill and holding up a major bipartisan treaty endorsed by Admiral McMullen. The START treaty goes back to Reagan's "Trust but verify." What better endorsement could they need? My response to the Republicans: Don't politicize bipartisan treaties! Pass START and go on. And while your at it, eat crow and pass the first responders bill too.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 20, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Good for Senator Brown. Some in the GOP promised to hold up START if DADT was repealed. So now the GOP is in the position of having tanked the first responders bill and holding up a major bipartisan treaty endorsed by Admiral McMullen. The START treaty goes back to Reagan's "Trust but verify." What better endorsement could they need? My response to the Republicans: Don't politicize bipartisan treaties! Pass START and go on. And while your at it, eat crow and pass the first responders bill too.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 20, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Good for Senator Brown. We need more Republicans who are connected with the needs of Americans -- such as avoiding thermonuclear war between Russia and us. This is a paramount goal in all our interest, Russia's interest and all humanity's interest.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | December 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Geez, a rookie Senator did his homework and is ready to vote for it, but Mitchum the Leader of the Pack says there hasn't been enough time to study the treaty!

Looks to me the dog ate someone's homework!

Posted by: kishorgala | December 20, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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