U.S. Senate debate on the START nuclear treaty with Russia will restart Monday afternoon in a secret meeting behind closed doors after opening statements on the chamber's floor this morning.
The aim of the treaty negotiated earlier this year between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev was to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of both nations and impose new limits on nuclear arms. Public statements began at 10 a.m.
Sen. John Kerry D-MA, who is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - said Monday on the Senate floor that this treaty is not being rushed. He said it had been delayed 13 times by Republican party members.
Sen. Minority leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that he could not support the treaty in a televised interview.
I think the verification provisions are inadequate, and I do worry about missile defense implications, he said.
Sen. Harry Reid D-NV said he looked forward to debating amendments, noting the closed door session would begin at 2 p.m. He said debate would come down to a simple choice.
You either want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, or you don't, Reid said in a released statement.
Every day we delay is another day we do not have inspectors on the ground in Russia monitoring their nuclear arsenal, he said.