Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved by voice vote resolutions of ratification for Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties between the United States and the United Kingdom and between the United States and Australia, sending the treaties to the full Senate for advice and consent to ratification. The Committee also approved legislation Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) crafted that will implement the treaties in the United States.
Following the vote, Chairman Kerry released the following statement:
"As with the historic Committee vote on New START last week, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have once again come together in the interest of national security. The United Kingdom and Australia are two of our closest allies, and I am pleased that the Committee voted to recommend that the Senate approve the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties with these nations.
"This bipartisan vote comes after three years of negotiations and thorough examination. It is a critical step toward enhancing our cooperative efforts to combat the mutual threats we face. These treaties help make cooperation between the United States and two of its closest allies more streamlined, efficient, and effective by removing unnecessary bureaucratic delays. Each treaty will permit the United Kingdom, Australia, and an agreed set of companies to avoid the need for arms export licenses when exchanging defense items relating to joint operations and programs. This will make it easier for us to instead focus our collaborative efforts on vital security issues such as the war in Afghanistan.
"Senator Lugar and I crafted these resolutions, and the accompanying implementing legislation, to ensure that our law enforcement officials will have the tools they need to catch and prosecute anyone who might try to abuse the treaty regimes. These measures will also fully preserve long-standing Congressional prerogatives in the oversight of military assistance and cooperation. I will be working closely with our colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that the legislation the Committee has approved today can be enacted as quickly as possible.
"I urge the Senate to promptly approve these treaties and the legislation needed to implement them."