DeMint Says He’ll Force Reading of START

Posted December 15, 2010 at 9:10am

Sen. Jim DeMint is expected to force a full reading of the U.S.-Russia arms control treaty if Democrats make good on their plan to begin debating it Wednesday afternoon, an aide said.

The South Carolina Republican — who has long used the chamber’s rules to stymie Democratic priorities or force votes on his proposals — could take up to 10 hours to read the treaty after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) formally moves to it around 3 p.m.

Reid in remarks on the floor Wednesday said he hoped to avoid a full reading of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

“I would hope no one would make us read the treaty. What a colossal waste of time,” Reid said.

Although START appears to have enough support among Republicans to not only overcome the 60 votes needed for cloture but also meet the 67-vote threshold for ratification, if the bill is read it would add a full day to the process and further throw Reid’s endgame schedule out of whack.

But DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton made clear the conservative lawmaker wasn’t going to back down.

“Every newly elected Republican Senator has requested that they have a chance to review the START treaty in January on behalf of their constituents. Sen. DeMint has made it clear that he’s going to use every tool available to stop it from being rammed through during the lame-duck session. The Senate needs to have a full debate next Congress over the weaknesses of this treaty that could seriously limit America’s missile defenses that protect our nation and our allies,” Denton said.