The New START continues the reduction of U.S. and Russian strategic arms and extends verification protocols, which have lapsed in recent months.
Kyl rallied Republicans to oppose the treaty over a number of objections. He and other GOP Senators complain that START should be accompanied by measures to provide for the modernization of the country's nuclear weapons infrastructure; that it doesn't contain provisions for tactical nuclear weapons; and that it shouldn't be addressed by a lame duck Senate, when new (mostly Republican) members will be serving in the 112th Congress in a matter of days.
They also wanted to deny President Obama another in a series of unexpected lame-duck victories.
"When it's all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Fox News Radio yesterday.
But over the course of the week -- facing pressure from a slew of Republican former diplomats, national security leaders, and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) -- a slow, steady drip of GOP senators announced their commitment to supporting START. By Tuesday afternoon, Democrats had on-the-record commitments from more than the nine senators they needed to guarantee ratification.
Yesterday, with the support of 67 members -- enough to pass the treaty -- the Senate broke Kyl's filibuster, a clear sign that his efforts had failed.