WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement commending the Senate's 71 to 26 vote to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START):
"I stand with a strong, bipartisan majority of my Senate colleagues in ratifying one of the most important arms reduction treaties in our country's history – the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. This landmark treaty will make America safer through the elimination of unnecessary Russian and American nuclear weapons while also reducing opportunities for terrorists and hostile regimes to gain access to Russian nuclear weapons.
"Moreover, this treaty will increase transparency between the U.S. and Russia about our respective nuclear weapons stockpiles. For the past year, the U.S. has been unable to monitor or track Russian nuclear weapon stockpiles – the first time that this has happened since the early 1990s. By ratifying this treaty, our national security will be enhanced by increasing American access to Russian stockpiles so that we can be sure that these dangerous weapons do not fall into the hands of those who want to harm Americans. It does this without placing any limitations or restrictions on the ability of the U.S. to develop and deploy a robust missile defense system.
"The treaty has and will continue to facilitate cooperation and trust between Russians and Americans on the threat of nuclear weapons. This trust will serve as the foundation of our countries' future efforts to pressure authoritarian regimes like Iran and North Korean to abandon their nuclear weapons programs. In that sense, today's ratification is really another step – albeit an important one – in our two countries' decades-long quest to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons around the world.
"This treaty has been ratified in a fair, open, and bipartisan manner. Over the past nine months, the Senate has held more than 15 hearings and classified briefings, with at least two dozen bipartisan witnesses. The Administration has answered more than 900 questions on the treaty for Senators and it has widespread support by both Democratic and Republican national security officials.
"Thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces – including many from Delaware – will be risking their lives to protect our nation over the holidays. We owe it to those brave men and women and their families to keep them as safe as possible. I thank my colleagues for doing the right thing and joining me in ratifying this important treaty."