The renewed optimism about the treaty follows weeks of intensive lobbying and behind-the-scenes negotiations.

US-Senate-SealWASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican opposition to an arms pact with Russia appeared to be thawing, as a few key Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, said they would be open to voting on the treaty during the lame-duck session.

The renewed optimism about the treaty follows weeks of intensive lobbying and behind-the-scenes negotiations by Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who flew to Washington last week for a 90-minute strategy meeting with Vice President Joe Biden. On Monday, Kerry gave a strongly worded speech on the Senate floor accusing his colleagues of engaging in a “partisan food fight” over the treaty.

Kerry, who needs nine Republican votes to reach the 67 needed for ratification, spent much of his Thanksgiving weekend in telephone calls with fellow senators, including Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown.

Neither Kerry nor Brown would reveal the nature of the call. Brown’s spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho, said that Brown “continues to review” the treaty and to hope that flaws will be worked out before a vote.

The treaty, known as START, would cap the number of nuclear warheads in Russia and the United States at 1,550 weapons each, down from 2,200.

Click here to read the full article.

Source: Farah Stockman | Boston Globe
Photo: U.S. Senate