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START Treaty Still Hangs in Balance

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But Graham said Republicans are angry at Reid’s handling of the lame-duck session and said the relationship between the majority and minority conferences was not conducive to the GOP supporting START in sufficient numbers for ratification. Additionally, Graham said his substantive disagreements with the treaty have not been resolved, suggesting his ongoing negotiations with the White House are going nowhere.

Harry Reid has basically said that he cares more about the political agenda of the next and last election than he does about a serious debate about foreign policy,” Graham said. “It didn’t have to be this way. But this lame duck has run its course. There’s nobody interested in using it for political purposes any longer.”

As the second full day of debate on START dragged into Friday evening and Senators prepared for Saturday votes on the DREAM Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” there was no firm indication as to when consideration of the treaty would conclude, although the discussed timeline calls for the Senate to vote on ratification early next week.

Republicans finally began offering amendments to START after offering none Thursday. But there was still no agreement on how many would be offered and how much time for debate would be allowed on each proposal. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry continued to politely press Republicans to speed up the process and for a schedule of what they wanted in terms of amendments and debate time.

The Massachusetts Democrat was unable to obtain a firm proposal from the Republicans in this regard. Meanwhile, the Senate was expected to continue debating well into Friday evening on an amendment to START offered by McCain and Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Barrasso (Wyo.).

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