President Obama assured Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday that the lame-duck session will be used to ratify the START nuclear-arms treaty.


According to the White House pool report, Obama gave his commitment to his Russian counterpart as the two met, both lauding their friendship and relationship built up over the past two years.

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"I reiterated my commitment to getting the START treaty done during the lame-duck session," Obama said at a photo op, calling passage of the treaty a "top priority" of his administration.

Medvedev and Obama signed the nuclear pact to replace the expired treaty in April, and Russian officials have expressed concerns that the treaty would be derailed in Congress.

"I can only express our sincere hope that a desire to defeat a competing party in the U.S. Congress and in the domestic political sphere on the whole will not prevail over U.S. understanding of its deep-rooted national interest," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

The Associated Press reported that the White House was offering to add $4.1 billion in funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal for 2012-2016. The plan was reportedly presented to Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the GOP whip, in his home state in an effort to round up the 67 necessary votes for ratification.

The administration is anxious to get START passed before there are six fewer Democrats in the Senate in the next Congress. Kyl has expressed concern about the need to include modernization of the nuclear arsenal in the arms reduction plan.

“All they have to do is find enough money to satisfy Senator Kyl that they are prepared to do what they said they would do,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.) told Reuters in August. “If it’s important to you, you can find a way, in an over a trillion dollar discretionary budget to fund it. In my view they need to do that, because without that I think the chances of ratification are pretty slim."

Sen. John KerryJohn Kerry Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington Biden confirms 30 percent global methane reduction goal, urges 'highest possible ambitions' 9/11 and US-China policy: The geopolitics of distraction MORE (D-Mass.) said this week that momentum was building for a possible vote on the treaty in December.