The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Obama ‘confident’ New START will receive a vote this year, Kyl not so sure

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he had discussed holding a vote on the New START treaty with Russia this year with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and that he expected this to happen. "I confident that we are going to be able to get the START treaty on the floor, debated and completed ...

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he had discussed holding a vote on the New START treaty with Russia this year with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and that he expected this to happen.

"I confident that we are going to be able to get the START treaty on the floor, debated and completed before we break for the holidays," Obama said after his bilateral meeting today with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. "That’s not linked to taxes; that’s something that on its own merits is supposed to get done, needs to get done."

As of last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told The Cable that a deal with Republicans to move the treaty this month was close at hand. But if the Senate GOP leader on this issue, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), is close to striking a deal, he is keeping that information to himself.

"There’s a lot going on," Kyl told reporters after a meeting Wednesday with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). "We’re trying to make sure that there is adequate time for each of the things that have to be done. And senators don’t want to feel like they’re being cheated of that adequacy of time. They don’t want to be jammed."

Kyl had linked the New START vote to a resolution of the tax debate last week, saying that debate on New START can’t go forward until the tax issue was resolved. Kyl has also said that the Senate needs at least two weeks to work on the treaty and address GOP senators’ concerns about nuclear modernization, missile defense, and verification.

Meanwhile, virtually everybody who hasn’t yet weighed in on the treaty is now chiming in. A group of GOP House members (who can’t vote on the pact) sent a letter on Tuesday calling for the treaty to be delayed until next year.

Now, The Cable has learned that House Democrats, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), have sent their own letter calling for swift ratification.

Former President George H.W. Bush issued a one line statement Wednesday in support of the treaty. But he declined to say that the treaty should be ratified this year, similar to the stance former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took Tuesday.

"I urge the United States Senate to ratify the START treaty," Bush 41’s statement read.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he had discussed holding a vote on the New START treaty with Russia this year with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and that he expected this to happen.

"I confident that we are going to be able to get the START treaty on the floor, debated and completed before we break for the holidays," Obama said after his bilateral meeting today with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. "That’s not linked to taxes; that’s something that on its own merits is supposed to get done, needs to get done."

As of last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told The Cable that a deal with Republicans to move the treaty this month was close at hand. But if the Senate GOP leader on this issue, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), is close to striking a deal, he is keeping that information to himself.

"There’s a lot going on," Kyl told reporters after a meeting Wednesday with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). "We’re trying to make sure that there is adequate time for each of the things that have to be done. And senators don’t want to feel like they’re being cheated of that adequacy of time. They don’t want to be jammed."

Kyl had linked the New START vote to a resolution of the tax debate last week, saying that debate on New START can’t go forward until the tax issue was resolved. Kyl has also said that the Senate needs at least two weeks to work on the treaty and address GOP senators’ concerns about nuclear modernization, missile defense, and verification.

Meanwhile, virtually everybody who hasn’t yet weighed in on the treaty is now chiming in. A group of GOP House members (who can’t vote on the pact) sent a letter on Tuesday calling for the treaty to be delayed until next year.

Now, The Cable has learned that House Democrats, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), have sent their own letter calling for swift ratification.

Former President George H.W. Bush issued a one line statement Wednesday in support of the treaty. But he declined to say that the treaty should be ratified this year, similar to the stance former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took Tuesday.

"I urge the United States Senate to ratify the START treaty," Bush 41’s statement read.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin