White House: Obama not backing down on nuclear pact

November 18, 2010 02:13

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will push for Senate ratification of a nuclear arms pact with Russia before the year's end despite opposition from a leading Republican senator, the White House said Wednesday.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he believes the New START deal will come up and pass during the year's final session of Congress, now in progress.The pact is a top foreign policy priority for Obama. It would shrink the US and Russian arsenals of strategic warheads and revive on-the-ground inspections that ceased when a previous treaty expired nearly a year ago.

Sen. Jon Kyl, a leading Republican voice on the issue, dealt the pact a major setback Tuesday by coming out against a vote this year. Kyl, who has been seeking more money and focus on maintaining and modernizing the remaining arsenal, said more time was needed before moving forward.

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