Obama confident START treaty will be ratified before break

With the clock ticking until Congress goes home for the year, President Obama said Wednesday he is confident the Senate will ratify the new START treaty before the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, Obama said he has spoken with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and that he believes "we are going to be able to get the START treaty on the floor, debate it, and complete it before we break for the holidays."

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But Obama said Republican consideration of the treaty was not related to the deal the president struck with the GOP over the Bush tax cuts.

"That's not linked to taxes. That's something that on its own merits is supposed to get done, needs to get done," Obama said.

Obama told reporters that he told Komorowski "how important it was for U.S. senators to hear from those who are Russia's neighbors, that they feel it is very important to make sure that the New START treaty is ratified so that we can continue the verification process that is so important in reducing risks throughout that region."


The Polish president voiced his support for the treaty, saying, "We believe that this is the investment in a better and safer future."

The White House was so confident Obama will get the votes to ratify that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs proclaimed in an afternoon briefing that if the Senate "voted on it right now, it would pass."

This story was updated at 3:51 p.m.