- Associated Press - Sunday, December 19, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s second-ranking Democratic leader thinks there are enough votes to ratify a nuclear arms treaty with Russia before year’s end.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said, “We need to bring this to a vote” during the waning days of the postelection session of Congress.

But Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said, “This treaty needs to be fixed,” and there’s not enough time to do it.

The accord — known as New START — would limit each country’s strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, and establish a system for monitoring and verification. U.S. weapons inspections ended a year ago with the expiration of a 1991 treaty.

Senate debate is expected to resume later Sunday.

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