Thank you very much, Senator Kerry, and thank you for your strong leadership that produced the 14-4 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I’m very grateful that Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Lugar were at the forefront of making the case why the treaty is so much in America’s national security interests.
I also applaud the continuous resolution that included money that will be spent in order to modernize our nuclear facilities and begin the process of updating not only our technology, but training of personnel that are necessary in order to ensure that we are providing good stewardship of America’s nuclear programs.
This vote that was in the Committee demonstrates unequivocally that national security is a bipartisan commitment. As we have seen with every arms control agreement, going back to the original START 1 treaty that was passed, ratified by the Senate 18 years ago tomorrow, this is an obligation and responsibility that senators addressed without regard for the day-to-day politics. In fact, that last treaty, as John will know by doing the arithmetic, occurred in another election year, but that does not in any way undermine the bipartisan acknowledgment of the importance of continuing this critical work.
We have had excellent conversations with senators on both sides of the aisle and we will continue to answer questions and work with the Senate broadly beyond the committee in preparation for the vote that we are hoping will occur in the lame duck session, because we ran out of time here during the Senate before it went out prior to the election.
But the support for new START by our entire military leadership, our intelligence community, six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense, three former national security advisors, and seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command is an extraordinary endorsement of why this treaty needs to be passed, and passed in the lame duck session.
So again, I thank the chairman for his leadership, for the great vote that we got from the committee, and I look forward to the vote in the lame duck session that will once again demonstrate the Senate joining all of its predecessors in years past to continue to support arms control treaty.