State recruits centrist Republican in support of Obama's arms control experts

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Isakson said concerns about Obama administration policies were justified but that Obama's nominees were a different issue. In addition to Gottemoeller, the panel is considering the nominations of Frank Rose to be assistant secretary of State for arms control, verification and compliance; and of Adam Scheinman to serve as Obama's special representative for nuclear nonproliferation.

“The administration's policy is totally something else,” Isakson said.

Menendez urged Republicans to clear the nominees quickly at a time of rising threats.

“What I would say to members of the committee is that – at the end of the day – we may disagree on verification and compliance procedures, but we cannot disagree on the significance of the threats we face and the need to have a team in place tasked with representing our security interests at the highest levels,” he said in his opening remarks. “This is not the time to say 'no' to confirming qualified, experienced non-proliferation experts when so much is at stake in Syria, Iran, North Korea, and in negotiations with Russia – not when we imagine the consequences of the spread of these weapons.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pressed Gottemoeller during the hearing to rule out any further reductions outside a formal treaty, but she would not get pinned down, saying only that unilateral cuts are “not on the table.” And Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) pressed Gottemoeller on whether she supported Secretary of State John Kerry's decision to sign the NRA-opposed arms trade treaty Wednesday at the U.N.

“We were all very keen to see the treaty signed,” she said, adding that it had “nothing to do with our own domestic arrangements” but only affects weapons exports.

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