Obama on START Treaty: ‘Further Delay Comes at a Cost’ to Our Security

December 18, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)—President Obama kicked of this week’s address by praising the compromise tax deal, signed into law on Friday, calling it “an essential economic package that will help grow our economy, spur businesses, and jumpstart job creation.” But he devoted the remainder of his remarks towards ratification of the START treaty that has been blocked and delayed by Senate Republicans for seven-months. After 18 hearings and changes and accommodations made to satisfy the objections and concerns of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Republican Senators have been attempting to run out the clock on the lame-duck session without taking action on the treaty with Russia, that’s vital to our national security. Obama urged the Senate to ratify the treaty before leaving for the holiday break.

The President reminded middle class Americans what they stand to gain from the tax deal package.

“Instead of a New Years Day tax hike on the vast majority of Americans, two million Americans who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own will now know with certainty that they won’t lose their emergency unemployment insurance at the end of the month. Eight million college students who’d otherwise face a tuition hike next semester will continue having access to the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Twelve million families with twenty-four million children will benefit from extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. And millions of entrepreneurs who’ve been waiting to invest in their businesses will receive new tax incentives to help them expand, buy new equipment, or make upgrades, freeing up money to hire new workers.”

He then urged Senate Republicans to do what’s best for the security of our nation and ratify the nuclear arms treaty with Russia before the Christmas recess, invoking President Reagan’s “trust but verify” policy:

“During the past year, however, our old treaty with Russia expired, and without a new one, we won’t be able to verify Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which would undercut President Reagan’s call to trust, but verify, when it comes to nuclear weapons. Without a new treaty, we’ll risk turning back the progress we’ve made in our relationship with Russia, which is essential to enforce strong sanctions against Iran, secure vulnerable nuclear materials from terrorists, and resupply our troops in Afghanistan. And we’ll risk undermining American leadership not only on nuclear proliferation, but a host of other challenges around the world.”

While ticking off a veritable Who’s who of START supporters, including former Republican Secretarys of State, as well as President George H.W. Bush, he pointed out that the Senate has had ample time to review the treaty, and now it’s time to act.

“We have taken the time to get this right. The START treaty has now been under review by the Senate for over seven months. It’s gone through 18 hearings. Nearly 1,000 questions have been asked – and answered. Several Republican Senators have come out in support of ratification. Meanwhile, further delay comes at a cost. Every minute we drag our feet is a minute that we have no inspectors on the ground at those Russian nuclear sites.”

“It’s time to get this done. It’s time to show the same spirit of common purpose on our security that we showed this week on our economy. It’s time to remember the old saying that politics stops at the water’s edge. That saying was coined by a Republican Senator, Arthur Vandenberg, who partnered with a Democratic President, Harry Truman, to pass landmark national security measures at the dawn of the Cold War. Today, over sixty years later, when we’re threatened not only by nuclear weapons, but an array of other dangers, that’s a principle we must continue to uphold.”

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