Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, says there is not enough time to resolve all the issues in a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia during the lame-duck session of Congress. Drew Angerer/The New York Times

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican said Tuesday that he opposed a vote this year on President Barack Obama’s signature arms control treaty, dealing a blow to a top White House foreign policy priority and possibly to U.S.-Russian relations.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona said there wasn’t time to deal with his concerns over a treaty that would cut U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons deployments by about one third and restore weapons inspections that were halted nearly a year ago. Treaty ratification requires 67 votes in the Senate. Mr. Kyl’s decision likely pushes a vote to next year, when the Senate Democratic majority shrinks to 53 from 58.


GOP senator deals setback to nuclear treaty — Yahoo News/AP
U.S. drive to ratify nuclear treaty faces setback — Yahoo News/Reuters
Key GOP figure rejects quick vote on New START nuclear treaty — L.A. Times
Kyl statement deals serious setback to Obama’s push for START — Washington Post
Arms Treaty With Russia Hits Snag as G.O.P. Balks — New York Times
Sen. Kyl dampens administration hopes for ratification of arms treaty — Washington Post
Nuclear Arms Treaty Unlikely to Pass This Year, Key Republican Says — ABC News
No Start? — Ares/Aviation Week

My Comment: Sen. Kyl is doing the right thing. This is an important treaty that will dictate U.S. nuclear weapons policy for decades. The rush to ratify it ASAP never made sense to me …. especially in view of the electoral changes that occurred in Congress two weeks ago. The new Republican Senators have earned the right at the ballot box to have a look at the treaty …. an opportunity that they will have now. On a side note …. no major U.S. – International treaty has ever been voted on by a lame duck Senate …. a tradition that will (now) still continue.

I know that the Russians are not going to be happy …. and they will voice their displeasure …. but this is not the first time that a U.S.-Russian treaty has been delayed because of the Senate …. nor will it be the last one. I know that they will give the time that is needed for the treaty to be ratified, and more importantly (from the Russian perspective) …. they will also now be able accommodate some of their own legislators who have been grumbling that they want additional time to examine the treaty.