Washington (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee laid out his plan Sunday for the lame-duck session of Congress, which includes the passage of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said he thinks there are enough votes for the treaty - a nuclear arms agreement between Russia and the United States - to pass through the Senate.
"The votes are there," Lugar told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
Although he said there was little interaction between President Obama and Republicans before the midterm election, he has met with the president multiple times to discuss the treaty.
Before the current congressional session is over, the Hoosier senator said he wants to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all Americans and pass a comprehensive omnibus spending bill to allow the government to continue to function.
Despite increased attention over earmarks - legislative provisions that direct approved funds to a certain project - Lugar said the Senate is avoiding the larger issue of the deficit.
"We're trying to talk about earmarks as a way not of talking through decisions on the budget or on the deficit, but wheedling around the edges," Lugar said.
A bill to ban earmarks recently failed in the Senate, and Lugar, who is serving his sixth term in the Senate, put pressure on his party not to just try to defeat Democrats in Congress and defeat Obama - a strategy he says is "not going to work." He said the Republican Party must never become “the party of no.”
"At some point, there really have to be constructive Republican programs and a sense of leadership coming from our party, quite apart from whatever the president and Sen. Reid might be doing," Lugar said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
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