White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been a sometimes-lonely voice of optimism that the Senate will approve the Obama administration’s New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia before the current lame-duck congressional session comes to an end.
Gibbs was emphatic Friday saying, “Congress won’t leave before START gets done and it will get done with a strong bipartisan vote.”
Sixty-seven Senate votes are required to ratify the treaty.
The new START, which would limit the nuclear arsenal of both countries and provide for inspections, is a top priority for the Obama administration and Senate Democrats before Congress dismisses.
Many Republicans have not voiced public support. Arizona’s Jon Kyl — the Senate’s No. 2 Republican — has declared that treaty ratification should and will await the next session of Congress, when Republicans will have more seats in the chamber as a result of the midterm elections.
The bill is supported by Maine’s Republican senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
Gibbs, speaking to reporters in an off-camera news conference this morning, said it’s likely President Obama won’t leave Washington for his planned vacation in Hawaii until the Senate votes on START.