DeMint Says More Time Needed to Debate START; Administration Points Out He Missed 7 of 12 Foreign Relations Hearings on Subject

Frustrated with Sen. Jim DeMint’s support for a move to require an oral reading of the START nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia – a move that could take as long as 12-15 hours in these waning lame duck days -- an Obama administration official notes that DeMint only attended five of the 12 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on START, nor was he present for the final vote to order the treaty reported on the 16th.

DeMint attended the May 18 and 19, June 15 and 24, and July 14 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, plus the Committee markup session on Sept. 16.

Tweeted Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., just now: “# of hours to read START on Sen. floor = 12-15, # of comm. hearings DeMint missed on START = 7. No wonder he needs to have it read to him.”

DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton says that his boss supports the reading of the full treaty precisely as a way to delay the vote.

“Senator DeMint has made it clear that he's going to use every tool available to stop it from being rammed through during the lame duck session,” Denton said. “The Senate needs to have a full debate next Congress over the weaknesses of this treaty that could seriously limit America's missile defenses that protect our nation and our allies.”

Denton says that a delay makes sense because despite repeated requests, “the Obama Administration has refused to share the full negotiating record of the START Treaty with the Senate.” Moreover, he pointed out that the newly elected Republican senators have all requested that they have a chance to review the START Treaty in January.

-Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe

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