- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I read with interest the recent contribution by Andy Semmel, former deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation in the George W. Bush administration (“Nuclear terrorism treaties still incomplete,” Commentary, Friday). In the piece Mr. Semmel advocates the swift passage of legislation to implement two critical anti-terrorism treaties.

Mr. Semmel asserts that “the immediate fate of the implementing legislation that is needed to enact and complete ratification of these two treaties rests with the SenateJudiciary Committee and the full Senate.” I share Mr. Semmel’s sense of urgency, and he must have been unaware that as chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee, I requested this legislation be discharged from the Judiciary Committee on Sept. 12 in order to expedite its passage by the full Senate. The bill, the Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2012, has now been cleared by all Senate Democrats. Unfortunately an anonymous Republican hold has been placed on the bill.

No reason has been given for the Republican objection, which is particularly surprising because the bill was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Smith and I know that passage of this legislation is necessary to counter the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism and help prevent nuclear proliferation. Were it not for the anonymous Republican hold, the bill could be on President Obama’s desk now for immediate enactment.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY


Vermont Democrat

Chairman, SenateJudiciary Committee

Washington