What: All Issues : War & Peace : Nuclear Weapons : On tabling (killing) an amendment that would have required the president to certify that Russia had returned all military equipment owned by the United States that was confiscated during the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia in August 2008. This amendment was offered to a resolution accompanying a nuclear weapons reduction treaty. (2010 senate Roll Call 294)
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On tabling (killing) an amendment that would have required the president to certify that Russia had returned all military equipment owned by the United States that was confiscated during the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia in August 2008. This amendment was offered to a resolution accompanying a nuclear weapons reduction treaty.
senate Roll Call 294     Dec 21, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on a motion to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. James Risch (R-ID) that would have required the president to certify – prior to the enactment of a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia -- that Russia has returned all military equipment owned by the United States that was confiscated during the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia in August 2008. This amendment was offered to a “resolution of ratification” on a nuclear weapons reduction treaty between the U.S. and Russia (known as the “New START” treaty). Resolutions of ratification allow the Senate to offer explanations and interpretations of provisions of the treaties they approve. The amendment was not offered to the treaty itself, and thus would not necessarily have forced Russia and the United States to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.

Risch urged support for his amendment: “We have had a number of amendments that have been to the actual treaty itself. We have listened to objection after objection that: Oh, my gosh, we can't possibly amend the treaty because if we do, we are going to have to sit down and talk to the Russians again. We don't have to worry about that with this amendment. This is an amendment to the resolution of ratification. It will not require that we sit down with the Russians and negotiate….On August 8 of 2008, as we all know, the Russians invaded Georgia, and when they invaded Georgia, it was pretty much of a mismatch. They ran over the top of them, did a lot of bad things…The Russians, when they overran the Georgians and got to the seaport, found our humvees, and what did they do? Did they say: Well, yes, they belong to the Americans; we will put them on the boat that is supposed to go back to the United States? No. They said: We are going to take them, and they stole them. Today, they still have them.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged opposition to the amendment: “…I want the four humvees back… but I am not willing to see this entire treaty get caught up in that particular fracas. We have an unbelievable number of diplomatic channels and other ways of prosecuting that concept, and I pledge to the senator that I am prepared, in the Foreign Relations Committee, to make certain we attempt to do that…It [the amendment] also says they have to return all military equipment. It doesn't specify. This could become one of those things where we are saying, ‘you have this,’ and they say, ‘no, we don't’….This is not the place or the time for us to get caught up in linking this treaty to this particular outcome.”

The Senate voted to table (kill) this amendment by a vote of 61-32. Voting “yea” were 55 Democrats and 6 Republicans. 31 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have required the president to certify – prior to the enactment of a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia -- that Russia had returned all military equipment owned by the United States that was confiscated during the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia in August 2008.

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