November 20th, 2010
09:54 AM ET
12 years ago

Differences on the congressional way forward

(CNN) - Congressional priorities were the topic of the presidential and Republican weekly video and radio addresses this week as Republicans urged a vote on tax cuts and the president focused on approval of the New START treaty.

"A failure to ratify New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) would be a dangerous gamble with America's national security," President Barack Obama said Saturday. "There is enough gridlock, enough bickering. If there is one issue that should unite us – as Republicans and Democrats – it should be our national security."

The treaty is a nuclear arms reduction agreement between Russia and the United States that allows inspectors on the ground in both countries to monitor nuclear activity. Although it has been signed by the leaders of both nations, Congress has failed to ratify the accord. The first such treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Obama referenced the bipartisan history of the agreement throughout his address, calling on Congress to take action.

"Without ratification, we risk undoing decades of American leadership on nuclear security, and decades of bipartisanship on the issue," Obama said.

Obama has made it clear he wants the treaty through Congress before the end of the year, but many Senate Republicans have said START should be one of the first priorities of the next Congress.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky used the GOP weekly address to tackle job creation and to criticize Democratic priorities.

He said preventing a tax increase for Americans should take precedence over Democrats' priorities, which he said include immigration, a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, a reorganization of the FDA and adding environmental regulations.

"It's time Congress got its priorities straight," McConnell said Saturday. "It's time to set aside political votes and government spending that the administration and Democratic leaders have put above all other priorities for two years."

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year, and McConnell said Congress owes it to the American people to "work together to get this done."

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have decided to move ahead with votes after Thanksgiving to extend the tax cuts and allow an up-or-down vote from members of Congress.

Filed under: Congress • Mitch McConnell • President Obama • START treaty • Taxes
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Can the Congress stop Bloomberg from increasing the MTA fares ?

    November 20, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Indie Woman in Denver

    No, Mr McConnell, it's time for you Repubs to stop saying NO just for the sake of obstruction. Your #1 priority should NOT be to make Mr Obama a 1-term president. Your #1 priority should be to do the people's work, which is NOT just saying NO. What kind of leader ARE you, anyway? Not a very good one, I'd say.

    November 20, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. diridi

    As long as there is gridlocks this nation will cry...that's it. GOP need to work for the nation and it's people. Cut defense spending and increase the taxes who make more than 200k...this saves the nation. Cutting Medicaire, increasing Taxes on poor, cutting social security is bad, bad, and read this 20000000000000000000000000 times...o.k, truth.
    stress on Education, job training, retrain, retrain, and retrain.....forget Donald Trump, you thinking of presidency is like Sarah Palin thinking of some good to the investing in USA not Dubai...o.k

    November 20, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Jim from Va

    The world will not fall apart if we don't ratify this "New Start"treaty by the end of the year. Why does this president want to rush something as important as this?Take our time and do it right.Address the concerns of the critics before approving anything.

    November 20, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. katiec

    The republicans continue to play their political games at a great cost and risk to our coutry,
    It appears they will do anything to grab a headlihe and, of course, the media complies.
    Where was the outrage by the media on their voting against extending unemployment benefits?
    Why the ho hum attitude on their holding up such an important treaty?
    Why not more attention given to the republicans undying support for the continuation of tax cuts,
    perks etc for the wealthy, adding multi billions to our deficit?
    it is sad that the American people cannot get or expect truth, unbiased reporting from the media.

    November 20, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Debbie from Arizona

    I am sick to death of the Republican mantra of "what the people want". What the majority of Americans want is an end to the Bush tax cuts to the rich. As far as the STARK Treaty, this needs to be signed immediately. Senator Kyle is putting our entire nation at risk by holding this up. He has long been an embarrassment to Arizona and now holding this Treaty up for political purposes is putting our whole country in danger.

    November 20, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Bill from GA

    As Republicans in Congress deny another extension of unemployment benefits while bemoaning the high unemployment rate, saying we can't afford them many will suffer. Yet these repugs insist on finding money for an extension of tax cuts for all, even those making millions each year. What kind of heartless scumbags are these people, and what idiots send them to Washington?

    And BTW, Congressional dirtbags thinks we can afford their pay hike the last two years.

    November 20, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Hey Congress- how about doing something novel and backing the President? There is not one law you have proposed that can't be picked apart, but sometimes you need to stop nit picking and say YES

    November 20, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. L

    'The world will not fall apart if we don't ratify this "New Start"treaty by the end of the year. Why does this president want to rush something as important as this?Take our time and do it right.Address the concerns of the critics before approving anything."

    Congress has already done months and months of hearings. There's nothing rushed about this.

    If it rolls over to the next Congress, it will need to go back to start with new hearings and endless debate.

    This is all stupid obstructionism of a treaty that was first created by the Republicans (Reagan and Bush 1). Now that Obama has renewed it, the treaty is suddenly evil and a national danger. Just pass it and get on to real issues!

    November 20, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. The Big J

    Hey Repubs! Time to stop flapping the gums before the press & get to work.

    November 20, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Rosslaw

    Some universal truths are that the Republicans do not want to enhance this nation's security during the Obama administration, would consider a domestic terrorist attack which killed thousands of Americans as a political gift from heaven and certainly do not want to work to improve the economy in time for the 2012 elections.

    November 20, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |