Representatives from around the world are meeting in New York over the next two weeks to hammer out a final agreement on how to best regulate the $70 billion arms trade between countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is attempting finalize passage of a budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a noted skeptic of international organizations and the United Nations in particular, filed an amendment Thursday afternoon that brings the two efforts together:
The Chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate may revise the allocations of a committee or committees, aggregates, and other appropriate levels in this resolution for one or more bills, joint resolutions, amendments, motions, or conference reports that relate to upholding Second Amendment rights, which shall include preventing the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT),by the amounts provided in such legislation for these purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit or revenues over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 2018 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2013 through 2023.
At present, it is unclear how many amendments the Senate will get to during its debate over the budget, nor precisely how much support the Inhofe amendment is set to receive. What’s clear though is that the amendment is representative of Republicans’ deep concerns over the supposed threat the Arms Trade Treaty would pose to American’s Second Amendment rights. Those concerns have been debunked by American Bar Association, making the continued attempts by Congressional Republicans to preemptively block the treaty utterly baseless.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is currently chair of the Senate Budget Committee and is unlikely to utilize the authority Inhofe’s amendment would grant. Since the language would only apply to this year’s budget, the Oklahoman’s action can be seen as more symbolic than a real threat to the U.S. The threat posed by the Senate itself, however, is very real. Even the most benign of treaties has had a tough time reaching the two-thirds approval required for ratification, thanks to Republican fear-mongering and obsequiousness.
The fight over the ATT will likely grow in volume once the conference debating it approves a final text. Already there is legislation filed in the House and Senate to condemn the treaty. Approval of a final treaty is by no means certain though, thanks to groups like the National Rifle Association, which is already working to render the ATT dead on arrival.