From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
By a vote of 71-26 this afternoon, the Senate ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), exceeding the two-thirds majority required for passage.
The vote brings to an end a long, winding and at times hostile debate over the arms agreement, which enjoyed broad support among one-time GOP influence peddlers, but was held up for much of the lame-duck session by several Republican senators who raised a series of procedural and policy objections to the treaty.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl led the opposition, and at times appeared to have rounded up the 34 votes he would have needed to block START. Kyl made a name for himself in the GOP in 1999 when he shocked American and international diplomats and handily blocked President Clinton’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
This time, his efforts fell well short.
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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats’ push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas “sacrilegious,” and warned he’d draw the process out to wage his objections.
“We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful,” he told POLITICO. “What’s going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year – they kept everybody here until [Christmas Eve] to force something down everybody’s throat. I think Americans are sick of this.”
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