In a 67-28 vote mostly along party lines, the lame duck Senate voted today to end all debate on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, setting the stage for a final ratification in the next few days.
Though there was considerable doubt that the Republicans would accept the idea of ending the debate so soon after it began, it is widely expected that now that the debate is over enough Republicans will support the treaty for ratification.
Debate on the treaty began on Wednesday, and the Obama Administration declared it “outrageous” that the Republicans wanted the entire treaty read into the record. With the Senate about to recess for Christmas, there was little time for a proper debate.
Which seems to have been exactly the idea, as the president appeared in no hurry to see it move through the Senate until after the mid-term election. There was opposition to the treaty mostly along the lines that it didn’t mention the missile defense systems Russia is so opposed to. The missile defense was deliberately omitted by both sides, but it may still derail the treaty in the end.