What: All Issues : War & Peace : Nuclear Weapons : On an amendment stating that there was a “greater need for transparency” with respect to U.S. and Russian tactical weapons systems. This amendment was offered to a nuclear weapons reduction treaty, and would have had the effect of killing it entirely for the foreseeable future. (“Tactical weapons” are short-range nuclear weapons designed to be used on the battlefield) (2010 senate Roll Call 283)
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On an amendment stating that there was a “greater need for transparency” with respect to U.S. and Russian tactical weapons systems. This amendment was offered to a nuclear weapons reduction treaty, and would have had the effect of killing it entirely for the foreseeable future. (“Tactical weapons” are short-range nuclear weapons designed to be used on the battlefield)
senate Roll Call 283     Dec 19, 2010
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment (to a nuclear arms reduction treaty)  by Sen. James Risch (R-ID) stating that there was a “greater need for transparency” with respect to U.S. and Russian tactical weapons systems. “Tactical weapons” are short-range nuclear weapons designed to be used on the battlefield. Tactical weapons are different from strategic nuclear weapons, which can be launched across an ocean. The treaty that McCain sought to amend (known as the “New START” treaty) was strongly supported by the Obama administration, and limited the number of warheads the U.S. and Russia could maintain in their nuclear arsenals to 1,550.

Risch urged support for his amendment: “There is a lack of Russian transparency on this particular issue [of tactical weapons]. One of the things this treaty does that we are talking about today--and I think everyone concedes that this is one of the important aspects of this treaty--is it gives us transparency with the Russians, at least to some degree. One could argue the degree, but at least there is some transparency [with respect to strategic weapons]. Not so with tactical weapons.…Fellow Senators, this is your opportunity….this gives you your opportunity to press the reset button with Russia and take up this issue that is so important and, indeed, in the minds of many, more important than the issue of strategic weapons.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) contended that the Risch amendment would have killed the treaty entirely because Russian government would not agree to any changes to the New START treaty: “Let me be very clear. We are talking this afternoon about an amendment that terminates the treaty and that means we have no New START…. In the meanwhile, …the impression of the rest of the world [will be] that we will have an inability, once again, to inspect what is proceeding in Russia.

The Senate rejected this amendment by a vote of 32-60. Voting “yea” were 32 Republicans. All 55 Democrats present and 5 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate rejected an amendment to a nuclear arms reduction treaty that would have noted a “greater need for transparency” with respect to U.S. and Russian tactical weapons program.

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