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Senate ratifies START treaty

By a bipartisan 71-26 vote, the Senate just ratified the New START nuclear arms-reduction treaty with Russia, providing the Obama administration with yet another victory during this lame-duck session of Congress.

Said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, who spearheaded the treaty through the Senate:

This historic Senate vote makes our country safer and moves the world further away from the danger of nuclear disaster. The winners are not defined by party or ideology. The winners are the American people, who are safer with fewer Russian missiles aimed at them, and who benefit knowing that our cooperation with Russia in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and supplying our troops in Afghanistan can be strengthened.

Some color: During the vote, many senators were shaking hands and some even exchanging hugs. This was the last time many will be on the floor together -- as the defeated and retiring said their goodbyes.

*** UPDATE *** Per NBC's Ken Strickland, 13 Republicans voted for ratification: Lamar Alexander (TN), Judd Gregg (NH), Bob Corker (TN), Thad Cochran (MS), Johnny Isakson (GA), Dick Lugar (IN), Susan Collins (ME), Scott Brown (MA), Mike Johanns (NE), George Voinovich (OH), Olympia Snowe (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Bob Bennett (UT).