BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, this won't take too long. Let me say, first of all, I thank the Senator for bringing this up. Let me underscore: This is one of the sort of let's see if we can find a problem, and if we can find a problem, make it into a bigger problem, and then amend the treaty because amending the treaty itself--this amendment seeks to amend the treaty, so here we go right back down the road of the old ``let's open up the negotiations again'' argument. We have been through it so many times here. It has appropriately been rejected by colleagues.
I think the last vote was something like 66 to 30 on whether we will amend the treaty. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a right to raise it, but let me speak to the substance.
Going back in history on the START treaty, which is why this is a complete red herring--if you go back in the history of the START treaty, you will recall that the Soviet Union deployed 10 warheads, 10 MIRV warheads on an SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile, and Russia deployed some 36 of those SS-24 rail-based launchers the Senator is referring to at the height of their deployment. But to comply with START I and with START II, which interestingly, we worked together on in terms of START II even though the Russians never ratified it--and the reason they didn't ratify it is because we took unilateral action and withdrew from the ABM treaty, and they were mad about it. That is why what we do matters in this relationship. We ratified the START II treaty; they didn't. So the things we choose to do have an effect.
The fact is, thanks to our colleague to my right, the distinguished Senator from Indiana, Mr. Lugar, and Senator Nunn, who had the vision to put together the threat reduction program, that program set out to destroy Russia's SS-24 ICBMs and rail-based launchers.
This is important for all those people who have come to the floor and argued repeatedly that Russia has acted in bad faith in all of these efforts. Take note that Russia continued those cooperative efforts and continued to destroy those rail-based launchers even though they had not signed on to START II. Guess what. The last Russian SS-24 launcher was eliminated in 2007.
Now START I had a specific sublimit on mobile missiles and on rail mobile missiles. So the START treaty's definition, as a result of those two sublimits, the START treaty's definition needed to cover both the rail mobile and the road mobile launchers that were deployed at the time of the treaty. They were both put under the same roof, and that roof was the START treaty's definition. Just like the Moscow Treaty, the New START treaty contains just a plane limit, an overall limit on ICBMs and ICBM launchers, SLBMs and SLBM launchers. We have the two categories and heavy bombers with no sublimits.
That means the characteristics of strategic offensive arms limited by the treaty, in particular the deployed and the nondeployed launchers of ICBMs and the deployed ICBMs and their warheads, those characteristics do not hinge on the treaty's definition of mobile launchers of ICBMs. We don't want them to because we want this big umbrella that covers all of it, which we have the ability to verify.
If we look at exactly what the treaty says, it says the following--and I don't know which lawyers are arguing about this, but the lawyers involved between the Russians and the United States and the lawyers involved on the negotiating team and the lawyers at the State Department are not arguing about this. They understand exactly what the treaty says.
Here is what it says. Article II, 1(a) of the treaty sets the limit of 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles and deployed heavy bombers. That is really simple. It is very straightforward--700 ICBMs, SLBMs, bombers. We have the flexibility to decide how many of each of those we want to have. We had a debate previously with our colleagues about how many we would have. But that is pretty straightforward. There is no ambiguity in that. Where is the ambiguity--700, all three, and we believe we can count all three. Paragraph 12 of part 1 of the protocol defines deployed ICBM as an ICBM that is contained in or on a deployed launcher of ICBMs. That is pretty obvious. A launcher is a launcher is a launcher.
Paragraph 13 of part 1 of the protocol defines deployed launcher of ICBMs as an ICBM launcher that contains an ICBM and is not an ICBM test launcher, an ICBM training launcher or an ICBM launcher located at a space launch facility. Those are the only three exceptions. That is it. There is no ambiguity.
It seems to me pretty darn straightforward that a rail mobile ICBM, if either side decided to deploy it, obviously falls under the 700. It is so obvious that we should not have to risk renegotiating the entire treaty over something as obvious as that.
I might add, a nondeployed launcher of a rail mobile would fall under the 700 limit in terms of the launchers. I just ask my colleagues to look carefully at this. It would be highly improbable.
The Senator from Tennessee earlier today gave a terrific speech, Mr. Alexander. He said: What is all this fuss about? In the end, we are going to have thousands of these things that can destroy the whole planet anyway.
That came from a person who is pretty thoughtful on these issues, who understands that you have to put this in a context. We are not talking about the Cold War right now. We are not talking about the Soviet Union right now. We are talking about a country with which we have a very different relationship and where we have a whole set of combined interests, and you have to put this treaty into that context. It is highly unlikely that during the duration of this treaty with the Russian Federation, after years of working with the United States to destroy the weapons and work cooperatively under Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn's program, it is unbelievably hard to believe they are going to divert what we know to be their very limited resources and infrastructure from their planned deployment in order to do new mobile--we have a planned deployment of new mobile-based ICBM forces, and suddenly to have them go out and build and deploy rail mobile launchers, which we would observe unbelievably quickly under our national technical means.
The simple answer is that we know what they are going to do. We have a strong capacity to track what they are doing. We have every reason to believe the Russians agree with what I just said about the allocation of resources. The fact is, the resolution the Senate will vote on, in order to guarantee that we are certain about this, requires the President to communicate to the Russians in the formal instrument that ratifies the agreement, when we ratify it, assuming we do it, will ratify the understanding of the United States that the treaty would cover rail mobile launched ICBMs and their launchers, if Russia or the United States were crazy enough to try to build them. So for the life of me, I don't know what you can do more than that. But we certainly are not going to reopen the treaty for the basis of a nonambiguity like that.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, the answer to the question--why not clear it up--is because if you clear it up the way the Senator is trying to, you kill the treaty. Pretty simple.
The Senator keeps asking the question, Why can't we do this? We can't do it because it kills the treaty. It is pretty simple. And the Senator knows it kills the treaty.
Now, going beyond that, come back again just for an instant to the substance. First of all, the Russian general staff--I have been known, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to make some comments which occasionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not agree with. My comments are not going to drive them to do what they do not agree with. Likewise, the chairman of their foreign relations committee whom he quotes was tweaking us in his comment. But the fact is, the general staff of Russia has made it abundantly clear they do not want to build these rail-based mobile. They have no intention of doing this. They have just been destroying them. They have been taking them down and destroying them in a completely verifiable manner, and the Senator from Arizona cannot contest that. He knows that is absolutely true.
So this is a completely artificial moment designed, as others have been, to try to derail--no pun intended--the treaty.
That said, let me also point out that if you want to try to rein in this issue of rail-based, this amendment is not the way to do it because there are a whole series of protocols set up in the treaty for how you deal with road-based launchers, and you would need to begin to put in place a whole different set of protocols in order to deal with rail-based. So if, indeed, the Russians are, as I said, crazy enough, as they think it would be crazy--that is the way they define it now and we do too--to go back to something we have spent the last 15 years destroying, if that happens, we will know it. Moreover, if it happens, it is counted, as the Senator has agreed, under the article II limits for launchers. So this is a nonissue, with all due respect.
I know the Senator from Nevada wants to take 2 minutes to make a comment, and then I wish to make a unanimous consent request, if I could, after that.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I don't think we need to repeat. I appreciate the Senator from Nevada and I understand what he is saying. I completely agree with him about the advice and consent role of the Senate, but part of that role is to make a judgment about whether the consequences of some particular concern merit taking down the whole treaty and putting it back in the renegotiation process. It is not that we can't or shouldn't under the right circumstances; it is a question of balancing what are the right circumstances. We are arguing, I think appropriately, because the report of our committee says clearly that rail-mobile will be covered under article II and this is unnecessary. So weighing it that way, it doesn't make sense to do it.
Let me say to my colleagues that I think we want to move to the Risch amendment, and I think it is the hope of the majority leader to try to have two votes around the hour of 6 o'clock, if that is possible, and then to proceed to the Wicker amendment.
I yield the floor to the Senator from Idaho.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Madam President, I will be very quick. I don't think we need to spend a lot of time on this. First of all, we agree with the Senator from Idaho that under normal circumstances the equipment they have would be best returned to the United States, and there are many good-faith ways in which they might do that. But the fact is that the way this is phrased, it has just two enormous problems. First, it says prior to the entry into force of the treaty. So we are linking this ancillary issue to this entire treaty, which bears on a whole set of other national security considerations.
I want the four humvees back, and whatever the small arms are, which raises another issue, but I am not willing to see this entire treaty get caught up in that particular fracas. We have an unbelievable number of diplomatic channels and other ways of prosecuting that concept, and I pledge to the Senator that I am prepared, in the Foreign Relations Committee, to make certain we attempt to do that, as well as deal with the question of Russia's compliance with the peace agreement with respect to the cease-fire in Georgia and so forth. These are essential ingredients, and we will talk about that in a moment.
It also says they have to return all military equipment. It doesn't specify. This could become one of those things where we are saying, you have this, and they say, no, we don't. Are we talking about small arms? What about expended ammunition? Who knows what the circumstances are?
This is not the place or the time for us to get caught up in linking this treaty to this particular outcome. I really think that stands on its own.
I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the amendment offered by Senator Wicker is an amendment that is looking for an issue. There is no issue that is joined here with respect to the bilateral commission or what it might do with respect to the creation of rights. But if this amendment were to pass, there would be an issue, not only an issue with respect to Russian participation but actually an issue that could be harmful to the United States. This is a little bit technical and it is a tricky thing to follow in some ways, but let me lay this out.
Under the START treaty, the prior treaty under which we have lived since 1992, and now under the proposed New START treaty, the consultative commission that we create in the treaty will get together in order to work out the problems that may or may not arise and is allowed to agree upon ``such additional measures as may be necessary to improve the viability and the effectiveness of the treaty.'' If those additional measures they might approve at some point in time are changes to the protocol or to its annexes and if the changes don't affect substantive rights or obligations under the treaty, then it is entirely allowable for those changes to be adopted without referring them back to the Senate for any advice or ratification. The Senators' proposed amendment would make it U.S. policy all of a sudden that the phrase ``do not affect substantive rights or obligations'' means ``doesn't create new rights or obligations.'' So there is a distinction between affecting substantive rights and then having the operative language that kicks it into gear become the creation of rights or obligations. This proposal is unnecessary.
Why? We have operated without it for 15 years under the START treaty without a single problem. The New START treaty uses the exact same approach that has worked for 15 years. We have a lot of experience in determining what constitutes substantive rights or obligations.
More importantly, I mentioned a moment ago that this could be harmful to American interests. Here is how. It would actually require that agreements we want to move on and that act in our national security interest would be delayed and referred to the Senate, and we all know how long that could take, even if the new rights or obligations that they created were absolutely technical in nature. No matter how technical or trivial, they have to come to the Senate to become hostage to one Senator or another Senator's other agenda in terms of our ability to move, at least as structured here.
Under START, the compliance commission adopted provisions on how inspectors would use radiation detection equipment to determine that the objects on a missile that Russia declared not to be warheads were, in fact, nonnuclear and, therefore, not warheads. There was absolutely no need for the Senate to hold hearings, write reports, or have a floor debate on that provision, even though it created a new right for the inspecting side and a new obligation for the hosting side in an inspection. We don't want to take away our ability to be able to do that. This amendment would do that.
Similarly, the commission under START reached agreement from time to time on changes in the types of inspection and equipment that a country could use. Equipment changes over time, as we know. Technology advances, so the equipment changes. Giving U.S. inspectors the new right to use that equipment or the new obligation to let Russian inspectors use it hardly warrants referral to the Senate for its advice and consent.
In summary, this amendment is unneeded. We have done well without it. Not well--we have done spectacularly without it for 15 years. No problems whatsoever. On the other side, it is a dangerous amendment because it forces us to delay for months the implementation of technical agreements that our inspectors ought to be allowed to implement without delay.
I reserve the remainder of my time and ask unanimous consent that upon the use or yielding back of time specified below, the Senate proceed to votes in relation to the following amendments to the resolution of ratification: Wicker 4895, Kyl 4860, and Kyl 4893; further, that prior to the votes there be no second-degree amendment in order to any of the amendments and that there be 30 minutes of debate on each amendment equally divided between the sponsors of the amendment and myself and/or my designee or the designee of the sponsors; further, I ask unanimous consent that the time already consumed by Senator Wicker and myself be counted toward this agreement.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the Senator from Maryland is absolutely correct, and I appreciate him pointing that out. I think I have said many times in the course of this debate that it is imperative for us to deal with the issue of tactical nuclear weapons. In fact, the resolution of ratification has a section in it which specifically addresses this and urges the President to move to that.
I might add that the Senator from Florida, Mr. LeMieux--we are just finishing up an agreement on an amendment which will, in fact, add an additional component. It is an amendment we intend to accept, and it will add an additional emphasis on this question of tactical weapons.
But not only is there no benefit to delaying this treaty from going into effect--I mean, that is what the amendment of the Senator from Arizona will do. Until this new verification and limitation mechanism is put into effect--the fact is that most of our experts, from Secretary Gates through Admiral Mullen and others, have all said to us: If we don't get this treaty, we are not going to get to the tactical nuclear discussion with the Russians.
If we were the Russians and the U.S. Senate said: We are not going to do this until this, we would be looking at a long road where we have reopened all of the different relationships and we have discarded this one component of our nuclear deterrent that we find so critical, which is the submarine-launched missiles, the intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the heavy bombers. That is the heart of our nuclear deterrence. We want to know what they are doing and they want to know what we are doing, and that is how you provide the greatest stability.
In addition to that, Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton have both reinforced that many times, but here is the important thing to think about as we think about what the impact on this treaty would be. Nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles--or SLCMs, as we call them in the crazy vernacular of this place--these are tactical weapons, and although this amendment seems to suggest that Russian SLCMs could upset the strategic balance between the United States and Russia, the truth is, they cannot. They don't do what this amendment seems to suggest.
For many years, going back at least to the Reagan administration, we have considered these kinds of weapons to be nonstrategic weapons, tactical weapons. Even if they are long range, we consider them that. Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen explained why in their answer to a specific question from the Senate. They said:
Russian nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles ..... could not threaten deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (which will comprise a significant fraction of U.S. strategic force under New START), and would pose a very limited threat to the hundreds of silo-based ICBMs that the United States will retain under New START.
In other words, Russian nuclear SLCMs can't take out our nuclear deterrent in a first strike. That means if Russia were to use nuclear SLCMs against us, we could still use most of our strategic nuclear weapons and deliver an absolutely devastating blow in return. No logic in the sort of give-and-take of war planning, as horrible and as incomprehensible as it is to most people with respect to nuclear weapons, but it has all been done, appropriately, because they do exist, and it is important to our security. But no warfighting under those situations is going to reduce our ability to not just defend ourselves but to annihilate anyone who would propose or think about doing that.
Ironically, it was the Soviets who once wanted to do what Senator Kyl is actually seeking to do. They wanted to categorize SLCMs as strategic weapons because we used to deploy a nuclear version of the Tomahawk on our attack submarines, and the Soviets worked very hard to get the original START treaty to cover SLCMs. Guess what. We didn't bite. We didn't do that. The first Bush administration explicitly rejected those Soviet efforts to add legally binding limits on sea-launched cruise missiles. They considered SLCMs tactical weapons, and they also thought that limits on nuclear sea-launched cruise missiles are inherently unverifiable. That is, in part, because we didn't want to give the Soviets that much access to our submarines in return for access to theirs, and we don't want to do it now with the Russians. Now, maybe people were wrong about that, but I just don't see the wisdom in putting the treaty we have agreed on on the shelf while we go out and try to experiment with a new approach that nobody has argued is imperative for the security of our country.
Back then, we did agree in politically binding declarations to a limit of 880 deployed long-range nuclear SLCMs and to declare at the beginning of the year how many SLCMs we intended to deploy for that year. Those political declarations stayed operative for many years, and, in fact, Secretary Gates stated for the record that as recently as December of 2008, Russia has declared that it planned to deploy zero nuclear SLCMs.
Shortly after START was signed in 1991, the United States and Russia each pledged as part of the Presidential nuclear initiative to cease deploying any nuclear SLCMs on surface ships or attack submarines. So while we have four former ballistic missile submarines converted to cruise missile submarines, we are no longer deploying our nuclear Tomahawk missiles on any U.S. submarines. The Presidential nuclear initiatives are still operative for us and for the Russians, and we think we are more secure that way.
So I see nothing to be gained from negotiating a new binding agreement in the context of holding up this treaty, of putting it on the shelf, and of going back in an effort to do that.
This amendment would delay the New START for months or years, throw an entire curveball back into what I talked about yesterday, which is that theory of negotiation that nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon. And in this case, if we say: Oh, no, ain't agreed upon, sorry, we are coming back to say you have to agree with us on tacticals before any of this becomes law, we have opened the entire negotiation again. How reliable and what kind of partnership is that? I don't think that makes sense. I fail to see any point in going down that road.
I urge my colleagues to defeat this amendment, and I reserve the remainder of our time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona has just under 8 minutes.
Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I am a little bit flummoxed here because I thought in a conversation I had a couple of days ago with Senator Kerry that side agreements might be all right; that we didn't want to amend the preamble or didn't want to amend the treaty but that we could perhaps do some side agreements. So we structured this as a side agreement just exactly as was done in START I.
Mr. KERRY. Will the Senator yield?
Mr. KYL. On the Senator's time, I would be happy to.
Mr. KERRY. I would be happy to urge, if he wants to change the amendment or if he wants to submit--it is too late now, but we could perhaps do a modification by unanimous consent to urge the President to enter into an agreement but not shelve the whole treaty until that happens. That is the difference. So I am not going back on the notion. It would be great to get a side agreement, but don't hold this agreement up in the effort to do it.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, let me first compliment my colleague from Arizona, who has been dogged, if nothing else, in his advocacy with respect to his points of view regarding this treaty. And while I and other Senators may disagree with a specific amendment he proposes because of its impact as well as, in some cases, because of something else, that doesn't mean the Senator isn't raising valid questions for future discussions and things on which we ought to be focused. I know he spends a lot of time with this. I think all of us have a lot of respect for the ways in which he has already impacted this treaty. I give him credit for that.
This particular amendment is a combination of about four different amendments that have come together. I understand why that happened. I am not complaining about that at all. It is just that there is a lot in it, and therefore there are different reasons one ought to oppose this amendment.
Let me say that, first of all, the New START, I think in most people's judgment, addresses the concerns that have been raised by the Senator from Arizona.
The purpose of warhead inspections is to count the number of warheads on the missile. Neither side is comfortable with the other actually seeing the warheads, looking into it and seeing it. We are not comfortable with them doing that to us, and they are not comfortable with us doing that to them. That is not so much about the counting of the warhead as it is often the issue of failsafe devices or counter-shoot-down devices and other kinds of things that might be in there that we don't necessarily have a right to see and they don't want us to see. So neither side is sort of looking at the actual warhead. The START treaty--the original START treaty, therefore, to deal with that issue, lets the inspected party cover the warheads on the front of the inspected missile, but it allows us to inspect any cover before it is used so that we know what it can and can't conceal. We know what that cover is permitting us to see.
What is more, paragraph 11 of section (2) in the treaty's annex on inspections says explicitly--this is in New START:
The covers shall not hamper inspectors.
We did not have that previously. That is new to this treaty.
As a result of what we have learned in START, we have learned how to look and how to ask for things more appropriately, and our negotiators worked that into this treaty so as to protect our interests.
In fact, the covers are not allowed to hamper the inspectors in ascertaining that the front section contains a number of reentry vehicles equal to the number of reentry vehicles that were declared for that deployed ICBM or deployed SLBM.
The virtue of the New START treaty is that these declarations and the specific alphanumeric numbers that are going to be attached to the launchers and these warheads allow us enormous certainty in the randomness of our choices of where we go. If the Russians are cheating or somebody is over for one reason or another, we have great capacity to decide where that might be, where we think the best target of opportunity is, and to lock that place down and go in and check it. There are enormous risks of being discovered as a consequence of the way we have set that up.
The treaty already forbids Russia from using covers that interfere with warhead counting. It would create a very dangerous precedent, in my judgment, to require that we negotiate now, before we put the treaty into effect, a side agreement on the very same thing. That might suggest that other New START provisions do not need to be obeyed because there is no side deal reinforcing them. What is the impact of the side deal? Does the side agreement, incidentally, have to be ratified by the Senate before it goes into effect? There are a lot of imponderables here.
With respect to the agreement on telemetry, the requirement for a legally binding agreement with Russia that both parties have to provide telemetry on all flight tests of ICBMs and SLBMs, which is what the Senator is seeking, would also delay the START treaty into force by the same months or years about which we talked.
That argument has been hammered around here the last 7 days adequately.
This delays the treaty. It does not act to increase the security of our country, and it already is in the resolution of ratification in the treaty.
Given what we already understand, we know that the Russians do not like trading in telemetry. I find it hard to believe, therefore, that if we make this treaty condition precedent on the agreement of a side agreement, which we know the Russians hate to do, that is a way of buying into gridlock, deadlock, nothing.
I do not think anybody would suggest--we have already been through this a little bit, incidentally. I and others strongly urged the President and his negotiators to seek as significant telemetry as possible. For a lot of reasons, it did not turn out that it was achievable from their side, but it also did not turn out it was desirable on our side altogether.
Russia is testing new systems such as the Belava SLBM, and the United States may test only existing types of missiles during the next decade. That is a reason why the Russians obviously resist this very significantly.
A lot of people have suggested that our military does not want to share the telemetry on all our flight tests of ICBMs and SLBMs. They are pretty happy the way the treaty is structured now, including the provisions for telemetry which allow us five telemetry exchanges. We have to agree on them, but they are allowed under the treaty. If that were not true, there is no way the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen would have sent the letter he sent to the entire Senate where he stated he wants this treaty ratified now, he wants it implemented now, and he believes, consistent with everything people said within our national security network, that this treaty is both verifiable and enhances our capacity to be able to count and know what the Russians are doing.
The requirement for Russian agreement not to deny telemetry on the new ballistic missile systems it develops during the duration of the treaty is redundant with the previous part about which we just talked.
Again, the amendment requires a side agreement with the Russians. It is the absolute equivalent of amending the treaty itself and, therefore, I would oppose that.
The New START's telemetry exchange regime involves negotiating the beginning of next year, assuming this goes into effect, which missile tests from the past year we are willing to share.
May I ask how much time I have?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts has 6 minutes.
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I want to reserve time for the Senator from New Hampshire.
The New START regime requires us to negotiate at the beginning of next year what we are going to share. If we do not offer anything interesting, Russia is not going to offer anything. That is the nature of a negotiation. You have to give to get. This amendment would change that basic principle from a negotiated exchange to a literally ``give me something for next to nothing.'' It does not work. The Russians would have to give us the good stuff while we would give them telemetry from launches that were no different from 30 other tests over the last 20 years.
I have to tell you, that sort of agreement is not going to happen. It is in a fantasy land, and the President would never get that side deal with Russia. The New START treaty would never come into force.
I yield the remainder of my time to the Senator from New Hampshire.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator. This is a constructive amendment. We all agree that we need to reduce tactical nuclear weapons. Everybody who testified to us reiterated the importance of that being the next step in terms of our relationship and increased stability. NATO allies also said it was essential to proceed to that. The Senator's amendment helps us to make it clear that is the direction in which we need to go. I thank him for his efforts.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, in, I think, 7 days, I have not made an objection to an amendment that we tried to take up. I am sensitive to that because we, obviously, want to provide as much opportunity to go into these issues as is possible. I say to my friend from South Dakota that I am happy to stay here with him and do as much as we could do to impress on anybody the importance of the issue he is raising. But if we stayed here and went through the process of a vote, which would conceivably take us a lot longer in terms of the other amendments we have to finish tomorrow morning, as well as keep the Senate in even later, only the votes--I think we had only one motion to table. Almost every vote has been straight up or down. The votes have been 60 to 30, or 60-something to 28, or something like that. I think the reason is that there is a fundamental flaw in the approach of this particular amendment and the others we have had because they seek to prevent the treaty from going into force.
The language says ``prior to the entry into force of the New START Treaty,'' the President has to do a series of things. Some of those may read in a fairly straightforward and literal way, but they are not necessarily what can be done immediately or are even subject to our control, in which case we wind up with a treaty that we have actually partially ratified because it cannot go into force, and it may never go into force, depending on what happens with some of those things that are out of our control.
There are a lot of reports requested on one thing or another. I think there is a more effective way to go at this, personally, that doesn't wind up with a negative impact on the treaty, where we are veering from our military and national intelligence leaders who would like to see this put into effect as rapidly as possible. The effect of this is not to let that happen as rapidly as possible.
The Senator is 100 percent correct about our concern about Iran. We need Russian cooperation in order to ever have a chance of enforcing the sanctions that have been put in place, as well as finding the other tiers of cooperation that are going to be critical as we go forward, absent Iranian shifts in policy. The fact is, what has happened through Russian cooperation right now is that the most significant sanctions we have been able to put in place to date have been put in place. They were largely achieved because of the relationship President Obama has achieved with President Medvedev and the reset button and the sense that we are coming together, not going apart.
It is easy for us in the Senate to stand here and say we have to require this, we have to require that. A lot of these things I have found increasingly--particularly in this time I have been chairman of this committee--a lot of the things we sometimes do with good intention in the Senate actually very significantly complicate the life and work of our diplomats who spend as much time trying to meet some kind of certification as they do doing the diplomacy they are meant to do.
I am happy to work with the Senator as chairman of this committee. We will have hearings early next year on this topic of Iran and where we stand with respect to that nuclear program. We will look at this issue of Russian cooperation, and we will look at it hopefully within the context of a START treaty that is going to be ratified by the Duma and implemented and that can only strengthen the resolve of both our countries to focus on the challenges of Iran.
I thank my colleague. I have been in that position before when we have not been able to get an amendment in.
I might add, the amendment was filed a day and a half after cloture was filed. I said to Jon Kyl very clearly that we were going to try to be as flexible as we could. That flexibility needed to be mostly focused on those amendments that directly affect the treaty or are to the treaty in its most direct sense. If we raised a point of order, this would be an amendment that would be found to be not germane because it is outside those direct treaty issues. With that in mind, I have taken the position I have taken. But I look forward to working with my colleague, if we can, as we go forward from here.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, Senator Reid asked me a few minutes ago if I would communicate where we are with respect to the START treaty, and I will do so.
As it stands now, we have two amendments that remain. One is an amendment by Senator Kyl on modernization, which I believe is the intention, though not yet locked in, of the majority leader to try to take up around 9 o'clock in the morning. We expect to spend somewhere in the vicinity of an hour on it, maybe a little bit longer than that, to accommodate the speakers for Senator Kyl. Then there will be one other amendment after that on missile defense, I believe an amendment that will be offered by Senator Corker and Senator Lieberman together. That amendment will be the last barrier remaining before we can get to the final vote on the treaty itself.
It would be my hope, depending on the negotiations going on and discussions with respect to the 9/11 first responders--those are discussions taking place now--depending on that, we will have a better sense of when that final vote will be able to take place. I know a lot of colleagues are trying to figure that out in the context of flights, family, and other things. Our hope is that will become clearer in the next minutes, hours, moments of the Senate.
That is the lay of the land. I know the chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the ranking member have made their request to the Senate regarding the Defense authorization bill.
Our hope is that tomorrow morning we can move rapidly through the remaining two amendments. It may even be possible for us to accept the amendment on the missile defense. We are working on that language now. If that happens, obviously it will clear the possibilities of a final vote to an earlier hour, again dependent on this discussion regarding the 9/11 first responders.
That is the state of play.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT