Politico reports that the Senate Republican Policy Committee sent a memo to Republican Senate staffers urging them to delay voting on the new START. An excerpt from the memo:
“The fact sheet then asserts that the treaty provides ‘effective verification and inspection systems leaving Russia unable to achieve militarily significant cheating or breakout.’ Member offices should review the assessment of the treaty’s verification regime by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Bond, available in Senate Security. That assessment is consistent with the testimony of Former Secretary of State James Baker that the New START verification program ‘does not appear as rigorous or extensive as the one that verified the numerous and diverse treaty obligations and prohibitions under START I.’
“The fact sheet then asserts that the treaty provides no constraints on deploying conventional prompt global strike capabilities. This does not answer the question of whether the Administration is committed to developing those capabilities. If the Administration were to pursue those capabilities by loading a conventional payload onto either an ICBM or SLBM, then the treaty very much limits the deployment of conventional prompt global strike capabilities. This is because every one of these weapons deployed in such a configuration counts towards the treaty’s central limits on delivery vehicles and warheads, and thus one ICBM, SLBM, or bomber may potentially have to be removed from deployed service in order to remain within the treaty’s central limits. To be fair, the Administration claims it is developing conventional prompt global strike capabilities that do not count towards the treaty’s central limits, but information on the state of those programs is very much lacking, and deployment of a converted ICBM or SLBM would be much quicker in comparison.”
Naturally, the president wants the Senate to ratify the treaty during the lame-duck session, despite Republican senators’ legitimate questions about whether the treaty undermines America’s security.