Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) confronted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) immediately after he spoke on ratification of the New START treaty this morning. McConnell’s complaints about the process being rushed were too much for Kerry, who had overseen the treaty’s ratification and has frequently bent over backwards to appease Republican concerns. Kerry ripped McConnell:
I would say to my friend from Kentucky: Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true. Our friends on the other side of the aisle have a habit of repeating things that have been completely refuted by every fact there is. … The facts are that this treaty is not being rushed.
This treaty has been delayed at the request of Republicans. It was delayed 13 times… to have more time to deal with the modernization issue, which the administration has completely, totally, thoroughly dealt with in good faith. I’d like to know where the good faith comes from on the other side. They [the administration] put extra money in, they sat and negotiated, they sent people to Arizona to brief Senator Kyl personally. For weeks we delayed the process of moving forward on this treaty in order accommodate our friends on the other side of the aisle. And now fully accommodated, with their requests entirely met, they come back and say ‘oh its being rushed.’ Well Mr. President today marks our sixth day of debate on the New START treaty. That’s a fact. … I mean is there no shame.
The primary complaint of Senate Republicans in regards to the New START treaty has centered on Senate process. But as Kerry’s remarks indicate these complaints are entirely unfounded. Instead, it was Senate Republicans who constantly advocated delay. In fact, prior to the election, Senate Republicans even suggested that the lame duck period was the appropriate time to have a vote. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was for a lame duck vote on the treaty in August before turning against it.
Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) complained that the Democrats’ decision to force a vote on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act this weekend had “poisoned” the Senate and that he would now consider voting against START merely some sort of protest.
As Major Garrett, the former Fox Correspondent said this morning, “When you can’t argue substance, you argue procedure.”