As Lame Duck Senate Nears End, New START’s Fate Remains Unclear

Sen. Lugar Predicts Narrow Victory, If Vote Happens at All

The last second attempt to get the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) ratified in the US Senate continues tonight, but with precious few days left before the lame duck Senate gets replaced it is unclear if the move will be finished.

The limited time has meant very little room for debate on the treaty, which would see both the United States and Russia promising to make small but meaningful cuts to their nuclear weapon arsenals. So far the treaty is being heavily contested along party lines.

Many Republicans have argued that the treaty would limit the US with regards to its missile defense systems. The treaty actually explicitly avoids comment on that, but Russia has said they reserve the right to leave the treaty if the US missile defenses threaten to undermine their enormous arsenal.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R – IN), one of the few Republican supporters of the treaty, predicted that if a vote were held today it would pass with 67 votes (the bare minimum needed to ratify a treaty). It remains to be seen, however, if the vote will take place at all, as there is likely to be resistance to Democrat efforts to curtail the already short debate for the sake of rushing a vote through.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of