Vote-Counting on START

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 17 2010 3:50 PM

Vote-Counting on START

If you're confused about the START vote, you should read Josh Rogin and keep reading. The gist is this: The vote to start debating the treaty drew the support of Bob Bennett, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe, and George Voinovich. The White House needs to hold all of those votes and get Sen. Evan Bayh (who skipped the first vote) and Sen. Ron Wyden (who is about to undergo surgery) to show up for the vote.

How likely is that? In their floor statements, John McCain and Lindsey Graham both offered complaints -- which Democrats say are meritless -- about the wording of the treaty's nonbinding preamble. McCain wants an amendment to add missile defense language to that preamble, which Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry calls a "treaty-killer." On the floor just now, Kerry was trying to parry all this with humor.

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"If I may -- we've just had seven missiles launched our way," said Kerry, referring to Republican speeches. "I'm going to show you what one good defense can do to the balance of power."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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