In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Dems Close In On START Ratification

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Newscom

"I've done my due diligence and I'm going to be voting for cloture and supporting the New START treaty," Brown told reporters after meeting with other senators in a closed, classified session. "I believe it's something that's important for our country and I believe it's a good move forward to deal with our national security issues."

Corker leans very strongly toward supporting the treaty. "The T's are being crossed and the I's are being dotted. Something could change but I don't know what that would be," he told reporters yesterday.

For Dems, the magic number is nine, and it looks like they've hit that number. Other reports indicate that Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and George Voinovich (R-OH) are in the yes column.

Prior this week, Sens. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced their support. And that doesn't count numerous senators who could easily hop off the fence and join the Democrats: Mark Kirk (R-IL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) -- who voted for the treaty at the committee level -- Thad Cochran (R-MS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bob Bennett (R-UT) and even John McCain (R-AZ).

Senate Republican and Democratic leaders are still working to schedule a vote to end debate on START. Like most filibuster-ending votes, it would require 60 votes. But ratification itself would require two-thirds support of all senators voting. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry, who's been the Democrats' point man on START, joined Dem leaders in the White House yesterday in signaling confidence that they'll hit the magic number.

"I believe we have the votes to ratify this treaty," he said.