Statement from the Vice President on the New START Treaty
Failure to pass the New START Treaty this year would endanger our national security. Without ratification of this Treaty, we will have no Americans on the ground to inspect Russia’s nuclear activities, no verification regime to track Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, less cooperation between the two nations that account for 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, and no verified nuclear reductions. The New START treaty is a fundamental part of our relationship with Russia, which has been critical to our ability to supply our troops in Afghanistan and to impose and enforce strong sanctions on the Iranian government.
President Obama has made an extraordinary commitment to ensure the modernization of our nuclear infrastructure, which had been neglected for several years before he took office. We have made clear our plans to invest $80 billion on modernization over the next decade, and, based on our consultations with Senator Kyl, we plan to request an additional $4.1 billion for modernization over the next five years.
The new START Treaty enjoys broad, bipartisan support. The Senate has held 18 hearings on the Treaty. It was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee with bipartisan support. It has been endorsed by prominent former officials from both parties, including former Secretaries of State George Shultz, James Baker, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Warren Christopher, former Defense Secretaries James Schlesinger, William Cohen, William Perry, Frank Carlucci, and Harold Brown, and former National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft, Stephen Hadley, and Sandy Berger. It is consistent with previous Strategic Nuclear Arms Treaties, each of which passed with over 85 votes in the Senate.
Given new START’s bipartisan support and enormous importance to our national security, the time to act is now and we will continue to seek its approval by the Senate before the end of the year.