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Archive for October 8, 2010

Letter from Senator Chuck Grassley on the START Treaty

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Letter from Senator Chuck Grassley on the START Treaty


imageSeptember 27, 2010

Dear Constituent:

Thank
you for taking the time to contact me with your thoughts on nuclear
weapons around the world.  As your Senator, it's important for me to
hear from you.  Please accept my apology for the delay in my response.


As
you may know, the United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in 1991.  This treaty entered into force
in December 1994 and expired in December 2009.  Since its signing, the
United States and Russia have held several meetings to discuss options
for continuing an arms control relationship. In anticipation of the
expiration date, the United States and Russia began to discuss options
for post-START arms control in mid-2006.  During the Bush
administration, negotiations were undertaken to begin the process of
replacing the Treaty.  However, no agreement was reached.


President
Obama and President Medvedev agreed at their meeting on April 2, 2009,
to pursue “new and verifiable reductions” in strategic offensive arms. 
While negotiations continued through last year, START expired on
December 5, 2009 without a final agreement.  However, President Obama
and President Medvedev came to an agreement on a new modified START on
April 8, 2010.  Most recently, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to approve the new START treaty by a vote of 14-4. As the full Senate considers ratification of the new treaty, I
will review the goals of the new START and the implications for the
United States.


In
our desire to rid the globe of these weapons, we must not succumb to
the temptation to act hastily and, in the process, jeopardize the
security of the U.S. and our allies.  With that caveat in mind, you can
be assured that I will continue to monitor the efforts to reduce the
nuclear arsenals of the world in a manner which contributes to universal
stability and peace while ensuring national security is maintained.


Again, thank you for contacting me.  Please keep in touch.


Sincerely,


Chuck

~
Senator Chuck Grassley is the Senior Senator from Iowa. He serves on
the Finance Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Committee
, the Budget
Committee
and the Joint Committee on
Taxation
.



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Saturday, October 9: Iowa Day of Action

Saturday, October 9: Iowa Day of Action


The Iowa Democratic Party is planning a day of action on Saturday, October 9 to further execute the strategy of getting our voters out early and making contact with every registered Democrat before the November election. If you can help a little, or a lot, every bit of help would be welcome to precinct organizers.

To get involved with the Iowa Day of Action, click here.





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Blog for Iowa Attends START Treaty Briefing

Blog for Iowa Attends START Treaty Briefing


by Paul Deaton

(Editor's
Note: The author had an opportunity to participate in a State
Department briefing regarding the New START Treaty between the United
States and the Russian Federation this week.
Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin has declared his intention to support ratification of the treaty, Senator Grassley has not. The treaty is one of three priorities for a lame duck session of the Senate after the elections).

During a conference call for Non-governmental organizations this week, Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance,
gave a brief statement and took questions about the New START Treaty
between the United States and the Russian Federation. Ms. Gottemoeller
was a principal during the negotiations and after a year of tough
negotiations with the Russians, she and her staff have had a tough year
of answering some 950 queries from Senate members. Gottemoeller said
this was a “very busy summer, involving a great deal of work getting
information in front of Senators.” She is “feeling very good about the
prospects” for ratification of the treaty.

Gottemoeller was
heartened by the fact that Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)
indicated that ratification of New START is one of three top issues
Democrats expect to take up during a lame duck session after the
November election and before the 112th Congress is sworn in. (The other
two are an omnibus spending bill and the expiring Bush Tax cuts).
Gottemoeller said she felt ratification of New START and entry into
force was an “extraordinary priority goal because of verification.” It
will have been a year since the previous START Treaty expired and we
“need to get our boots back on the ground in the Russian Federation.”

If
those closest to Arms Control, Verification and Compliance feel a sense
of urgency about gaining the Senate's advice and consent on the treaty
and entry into force, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressed concern
that we may be proceeding too quickly towards ratification. In a
September 27, 2010 letter to a constituent, Grassley wrote, “In our
desire to rid the globe of these weapons, we must not succumb to the
temptation to act hastily and, in the process, jeopardize the security
of the U.S. and our allies.” Grassley is important  because ratification
requires a two thirds vote in the Senate, and that means some
Republicans need to vote for ratification along with Democrats,
Independents and Republican Dick Lugar (R-IN), ranking member of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who have indicated their support for
ratification.

Gottemoeller indicated that part of the resistance
expressed by some members is the level of knowledge about the treaty
and its meaning for the nuclear complex. This may be Grassley's concern.
According to Gottemoeller, some key concerns persist: 1). New START
constrains missile defense. (It doesn't). 2). What hidden deals were
made to finalize negotiations? (According to Gottemoeller, “what you see
is what you get, there are no hidden deals.”) 3). Modernization of the
nuclear complex. (The administration has ponied up $80 billion, about which Linton Brooks said, “You know I would have killed for that
budget back when I was the administrator of that program,” according to
Gottemoeller).

The questioners on the call were people more
likely to seek complete abolition of nuclear weapons rather than the
modest progress reflected by the New START Treaty. One hopes Senator
Grassley will study up on the treaty, as almost every question asked has
been answered and a broad bipartisan consensus has been building that
New START is good for the national security of the United States and its
allies. We urge Senator Grassley to vote for ratification when the New
START Treaty is considered by the Senate.

~Paul
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa.
E-mail Paul
Deaton

Click here to urge Senator Grassley to vote for ratification of New START.





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