Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl sought Sunday to defend his opposition to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, arguing that the Senate won’t sign off on it during the lame-duck session as a matter of “reality.”
The Arizona Republican repeatedly refused during an interview on “Meet the Press” to provide specific complaints about the treaty, opting instead to place the blame for the holdup on Democrats.
“It is more the view of reality rather than policy” that the treaty will not be ratified in the next month, Kyl said, arguing that if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) provided him with three weeks to debate the treaty, it could be finished. “He has made it clear he has a different agenda in mind,” Kyl said, pointing to Reid’s decision to pursue other legislation during the lame duck, including a repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members and the DREAM Act immigration bill.
“Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate, can bring up the START treaty any time he wants to. But he has a different agenda,” Kyl said.
While avoiding direct attacks on Kyl, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that it would be irresponsible of the Senate to not complete its work on START, given support for the treaty internationally and domestically, among both Democrats and Republicans.
“Here is the reality. We live in a dangerous world. … [Not ratifying START] will pose a danger to the United States and its security,” Durbin said.
“There is no excuse for us to ignore this responsibility,” he added.
Durbin also dismissed Kyl’s complaints that the Senate would need three full weeks to debate the treaty, quipping, “People who subscribe to cable across the country ask for refunds when they turn on C-SPAN and see nothing but the Senate lurching by day by day in filibusters.”
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.