WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama locked up enough Republican votes Tuesday to ratify a new arms control treaty with Russia that would cap nuclear warheads for both former Cold War foes and restart on-site weapons inspections.
Eleven Senate Republicans joined Democrats in a 67-28 proxy vote to wind up the debate and hold a final tally on Wednesday. They broke ranks with the Senate's top two Republicans and were poised to give Obama a victory on his top foreign policy priority.
"We are on the brink of writing the next chapter in the 40-year history of wrestling with the threat of nuclear weapons," Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, a Democrat, said after the vote.
Ratification requires two-thirds of those voting in the Senate and Democrats needed at least nine Republicans to overcome the opposition of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl, the party's point man on the pact.