McConnell says he 'cannot support' nuclear arms treaty
December 19th, 2010
10:20 AM ET
11 years ago

McConnell says he 'cannot support' nuclear arms treaty

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voiced opposition Sunday to the New START - a nuclear arms treaty with Russia - saying that members of his party need more time to consider the legislation.

"I've decided I cannot support the treaty," McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” "I think if they'd taken more time with this, rushing it right before Christmas strikes me as trying to jam us."

He said trying to get a vote before Christmas was not the best way to "get support of people like me," and that GOP senators are "uneasy" about the legislation.

Although he said the administration has told him they're committed to missile defense, he's worried about how Russia and European allies of the United States "view missile defense."

Regarding the timeline for a vote in the Senate, the minority leader said he assumes Democrats are looking to vote on the treaty before Christmas, but that it's unclear whether that will happen. Asked if enough Republicans would join with Democrats to ratify the treaty, he said: "We're going to find out here in the next few days."

The treaty, which has been a top priority for President Obama and Senate Democrats, would resume mutual inspections of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals while limiting both nations to a certain number of warheads and launchers.

McConnell also said the Senate will pass a short-term measure that would fund the government until March. The chamber approved a similar measure Friday - the day the current resolution expired - to keep the government running until Tuesday night.

McConnell's appearance comes shortly after the White House and Congressional Republicans worked together to pass a tax package. The top Senate Republican said he found working with the president "just fine."

"We weren't sent here to do nothing," McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "If the administration believes they need to go in a different direction and it mirrors the things that I and my members believe is good for the country, we're going to do it."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he’s “deeply disappointed” by McConnell’s decision not to support START.

“We have spent the last four days on the Senate floor debating the treaty,” Reid said in a statement. “I know many senators, including my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, who share my belief that this treaty is too critical to our national security to delay.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. hillcrester

    McConnell is the Great Staller–always needs more time–probably has a reading disability. And he's just pi$$ed that the useless Reagan Star Wars missile defense has been shot down. Besides, the GOPhers need to keep the Cold War alive so they can fill the $$ trough for their defense industry buddies. You are looking at what the next two years will look like in Congress.

    December 19, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Name ScaredStupid

    Mitch "the Turtle" McConnel, what a joke! The world now knows that the screenplay for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is based on a true story...your life!

    December 19, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Mickey, NY

    Republican politicians are domestic terrorists.

    December 19, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Phil Newton -- Murphy, Oregon

    It wasn't enough to merely wreck our economy and put us deeper in debt to the Chinese.

    Now we have to imperil the planet.

    Good job, "General" McConnell.

    December 19, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. ThinkAgain

    This latest stall tactic by the Republicans is just another in a long line of self-serving obstructionism – and will make a great commercial reminding the American people that the Republicans put party before country, even when it comes to our national security.

    December 19, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. bill

    McConnell wont support anything unless he has HIS hands in it. McConnell has to be one of the stupidest politicians i have ever seen. He totally acts like a 4 year old that will whine and cry if he doesnt get HIS way. He's a complete loser in my book.

    December 19, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. thatguy371

    Why can't this a$%&*le get behind the bill? Because he's a repooplican jerk that's why. They've had PLENTY of time to look this bill over. McConnell needs to take a flying leap off a tall cliff. Repooplican, the party of gridlock.

    December 19, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. JasperNavy

    It's 17 pages long. I just read it.
    Saying "we haven't examined it" is a political too used so as to not have to lodge a concrete objection. Reducing our stockpile would actually be a great cost saving measure.

    December 19, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. lordpet

    I can't see how this treaty would harm the US. We'd still have thousands of warheads at our disposal. BTW, missile defense doesn't work. Why do people want to deploy some system that provides the illusion of security? Imagine making decisions based on the faulty assumption that your missile defenses will take missiles out of the sky?

    December 19, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Anonymous

    McConnel crying wolf again and again. Republican whiners, wa-wa-wa, we don't like this, we don't like that . . . well guess what GOP, we don't like your belly aching excuses

    December 19, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. The Choobs

    From Bloomberg (and reported widely): "The accord has also been endorsed by former President George H.W. Bush as well as current and former U.S. military commanders and Cabinet secretaries, including Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell." (Endorsements include ALL FIVE of the last Republican Sec'ty's of State BTW.) But I guess McConnel doesn't read as fast as they do...

    December 19, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Tony P. Louisville, Kentucky

    This guy always speaks on contradictory terms. He's saying, " I won't suppport because you haven't given me enough time to decide my support". He gives such lame excuses for his inadequate governing. We elect represenatives who must tackle, if necessary, multiple issues at once. The Secretary of Defense has already stated any delay with this Treaty could a threat to our security. Mitch, if you can't take the "heat" deciding multiple time sensitive issues at once....get out of the "kitchen". Regardless, this matter will be voted upon if you're ready or not......

    December 19, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Tony in Maine

    Mitch McConnell won't support anything that might be construed as good for President Obama. He has been joined by McCain and Kyl in placing partisan politics above what's good for the country. The first START Treaty was considered and passed in a week. A few since have been approved in a few days – even less.
    This treaty has been approved by every Republican Sec of State as well as a pack of Democratic Secs of State. Why does McConnell think he and McCain know more than they? It has nothing to do with good treaty or bad tresaty and everthing to do with Obama treaty.

    December 19, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    the real ib: What is it about this treating being available to read for 8 MONTHS that you don't get? Nothing has been rammed down anyone's throat – including the health care reform bill, which was debated for ONE FULL YEAR!

    Turn off Fox and start thinking for yourself! If the Republican Senators can't find the time in 8 MONTHS to read a treaty that has a direct impact on our national security, then the obviously don't give a flying puck about our country!

    December 19, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. LouWho

    If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce. Winston Churchill

    December 19, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. johnRJ08

    The people who voted this turtle-faced moron into office should be ashamed of themselves. First, the man took millions from Big Tobacco to do their bidding in Congress, now he's under the control of a cabal of white racists in the South who are apoplectic that a black man has been sitting in the White House for the last two years. Everything that Mitch McConnell does is designed to undermine and embarrass the Obama presidency. This opposition to the START treaty, which has been endorsed by EVERY LIVING Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, has NOTHING to do with the lame duck session being rushed into its ratification. This is all about extreme partisanship driven by deep-seated hatred of this president. McConnell and his cronies are despicable, dishonest men.

    December 19, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Joe

    All Americans should be absolutely disgusted that Sen McConnell is KNOWINGLY endangering the lives of Americans and our children solely to deny President Obama a victory on getting this important arms treaty with Russia ratified. By preventing US inspectors from monitoring Russian nuclear materials, Sen McConnell is ENORMOUSLY increasing the chances that Al Queda and other terrorists will be able to steal radioactive materials for use in a "dirty bomb" on US soil. Yet Americans continue to vote people like this guy into office....unreal.

    December 19, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Howard Gowan

    The Republicans had plenty of time to read the bill. Leading Republicans and past Presidents have said it would be a mistake not to ratify this treaty. All the Republicans are doing is trying to be isolationists and scare people more about Russia. They need to stop the political BS and ratify this treaty.

    December 19, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. roxas2268

    look yall have all great opinions and so many of you. yes i understand all of you and what you all or saying. it always goes both ways. either seems right if u put the right words together, but break it all down, you'll be surprised that neither republicans nor democrats are right. go to my blog. post on there about this and any gov situations in the news or anywhere. voice your opinions on my blog it couldnt hurt. id like to talk more about politics and gov, anything that pertains. all is welcome. my blog site:

    December 19, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. steve

    it was mentioned earlier that the world was laughing at obama. im a US citizen and im laughing at obama. everyday!

    December 19, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. kenneth fusilier

    I have never seen in my adult life a bunch of ignorant republican senators that all they really want to do is stop the progress in this country• Not to mention embarrass the president of the united states• Plain and simple stupidity at its highest point but the lowest of lpw for people of power•

    December 19, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. vic nashville tn

    They need more time Joke

    Two war going on we don’t know when these wars will end (Iraq and Afghan no steady government there) but our leaders gave tax cut to every one when two wars going on even they know tax cut won’t create jobs

    Tax cut bill open and close that quick unbelievable

    December 19, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. WDRussell

    The lobbyists for the war profiteers told me I was against it, so I am against it.

    December 19, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. tony

    We mustn't put any obstacle in the way of having ongoing wars. Just obstacles in the way of the feeding, housing and caring for the health of the Americans who have to work for a living. And we thought Osama Bin Ladin was the enemy.

    December 19, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. BrianBky

    I love the folks here who profess to know what they are talking about in dissing the treaty. As for me the fact that every living President endorses it, every living Secretary of State endorses it, Colin Powell endorses it and the current Armed Forces endorses it should mean something. I may be wrong, but my guess is that these people may know just a little more about what is safe for the US and what makes sense than you guys do. Ya, just maybe. This is all politics and you know it. Shameful.

    December 19, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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