- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 4, 2010

A conservative advocacy group is trying to rally opposition to the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty pending in the Senate, targeting voters in 10 states where senators hold key votes.

Mailers prepared by Heritage Action for America and going out Thursday urge voters to press their senators to continue opposition to the treaty or to drop their tentative support.

The move comes as President Obama on Thursday urged the lame-duck session of the Senate to approve the treaty by the end of the year. Tuesday’s midterm elections mean that Democrats will lose a number of likely votes in favor of the treaty in the new Congress and will need even more GOP votes.

The treaty, signed by Russia in April 2010, already has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but was not brought up for a full Senate vote before the elections. The pact needs a two-thirds majority to be approved.

“We have serious policy concerns with President Obama’s new START Treaty,” said Michael Needham, Heritage’s chief executive officer. “For too long, senators have stood quietly on the sidelines, refusing to take a firm stand on the issue. Given the administration’s desire to see the treaty ratified during a lame-duck session, Americans deserve to know what is at stake and where their senators stand.”

Critics of the treaty say it will not stop nuclear proliferation, only increase the nuclear capacity of countries such as Iran and North Korea.

Of the senators targeted, the only Republicans who have given preliminary support are Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

“There is still time to put a stop to this dangerous plan,” the Heritage mailer reads.

The letter also will be sent to Arizona, where GOP Sen. Jon Kyl, up for re-election in 2012, has expressed concerns about the treaty and its possible impact on the U.S. nuclear defense arsenal.

The letters were also going out to the home states of GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. The letters also were going to the home states of independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana.