White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today called Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) plans to force a reading of the START Treaty a “new low in putting political stunts ahead of our national security” and “exactly the kind of Washington game-playing that the American people are sick of.”
“Every minute that the START Treaty is being read on the Senate floor increases the time that we lack verification of Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” Gibbs said in a statement, adding that the bill has already been the subject of almost 20 Senate hearings.START, the nuclear arms reduction treaty that Obama negotiated with Russia earlier this year, requires ratification by the Senate.
DeMint also plans to read the entire text of Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-HI) omnibus spending bill, which is a bundled up package of appropriations legislation, earmarks, and other measures. By forcing a reading of the bills — which could last days — DeMint is hoping to eat up valuable time in the remaining days of the lame duck Congress.
Here’s Gibbs’ full statement:
This is a new low in putting political stunts ahead of our national security, and it is exactly the kind of Washington game-playing that the American people are sick of. While some express concern that the Senate doesn’t have time to debate the Treaty, Senator DeMint wants to waste 12 hours to read the text of a treaty that has been available to every member of the Senate and the public for more than eight months. This Treaty has been the subject of nearly 20 Senate hearings and 1,000 questions, and is supported by President George H.W. Bush, every living Republican Secretary of State, our NATO allies, and the military leadership of the United States of America. Every minute that the START Treaty is being read on the Senate floor increases the time that we lack verification of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. It is the height of hypocrisy to complain that there is not enough time to consider this Treaty, while wasting so much time reading aloud a document that was submitted to the Senate months ago.