From NBC's Ken Strickland
Senate Republican leaders’ top point man on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty said Tuesday that he "will work very hard" to ensure that the treaty is not ratified if it's brought to the Senate floor in the waning days of the lame duck session.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., argues that there is not enough time to thoroughly debate and possibly amend the START measure before the Senate adjourns for the year. Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring the treaty to the Senate floor following completion of the tax cuts bill this week.
"I let the Majority Leader know that's an issue for a lot of my colleagues," Kyl told reporters Tuesday. "And if he does bring it up, I will work very hard to achieve that result, namely that the treaty fails."
Treaty supporters touted Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's announcement last week that she will support ratification. But Snowe’s statement of support included a caveat that echoed Kyl's concerns: in a written release, she said she will vote to approve the measure as long as Reid offers it in "a framework that allows for sufficient debate and amendments."
At a news conference today, Reid said he had enough Republican support to secure the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty, which is a top priority of the White House.
But Kyl was quick to disagree with that assessment.
"I will resist the temptation to go over the record of things where the Majority Leader had predicted something prematurely," Kyl said.
After standing at the podium silently for a few moments, he added with a grin, "If I'm really going to resist the temptation, I better resist the temptation."