Reid, Senate Dems plan to move START arms treaty as soon as Wednesday

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE (D-Nev.) plans to bring the New START Treaty to the floor as soon as Wednesday and is confident he can secure 67 votes to ratify it.

“We could get to the START Treaty as soon as tomorrow,” said Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman. “I believe there are the votes to ratify the treaty.”

Ratification of START would be a major victory for President Obama, who has pushed it as one of his highest priorities since the midterm election.


Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the lead GOP negotiator with the administration on START, has said there isn’t enough time for the Senate to ratify the treaty in the lame-duck session. But Republicans face some pressure to support the deal, which has the support of every living former secretary of State, as well as the military.

Reid plans to consider a continuing resolution to fund the government through fiscal year 2011 or an omnibus spending bill simultaneously with the treaty. The treaty and the spending measures would be put on separate, parallel tracks.

It’s not certain, however, when the continuing resolution or the omnibus might hit the floor. Democratic aides said that could happen Thursday.

Reid hopes to hold a final vote Tuesday evening on the $858 billion bipartisan tax package. That would likely require opponents of the deal to waive some of the 30 hours that rules require to elapse between votes to cut of debate and final passage.

If opponents refuse to yield back time, the earliest the Senate could vote to send the tax package to the House would be after 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Reid also plans to hold a vote on a standalone measure repealing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars openly gay military service members.