It’s time for the Senate to ratify the new START treaty

While substantive questions about the treaty have been put to rest, some senators are trying to delay consideration of it based on an unrelated funding issue, namely, claims that future funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal might be insufficient…

First, these claims fly in the face of the considered opinions of Chilton and National Nuclear Security Administration head Thomas D’Agostino, the men charged with overseeing our nuclear weapons and weapons laboratories. They, along with Gates and Mullen, have made clear that the administration’s 10-year, $80 billion plan to modernize our nuclear infrastructure, which would result in a 15 percent increase over current spending levels, represents the funding level that is needed and can be executed in a timely manner.

More important, delaying this treaty over an unrelated matter undermines our national security.

By the time the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes Sept. 16 on whether to send the treaty to the Senate floor for ratification, it will have been more than 280 days and counting since the United States lost the ability to conduct on-site inspections, monitoring and verification of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. This ability will not begin again until the treaty is ratified.