Senate Democrats appear to have the nine Republican votes they need to ratify the New START nuclear treaty this week and give President Obama his third major victory of the lame-duck session.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he would vote to ratify the treaty and also support a motion to end debate, which the Senate will consider Tuesday.
“I believe it’s something that’s important for our country and I believe it’s a good move forward,” Brown said after emerging from a classified briefing in the Old Senate Chamber.
He was the ninth Republican senator to announce publicly that he would vote to ratify or is leaning strongly in favor of doing so. All 58 members of the Democratic conference — including two independents, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) — support it.
“I believe we have the votes to pass this treaty,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said after the briefing.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, became the 10th Republican to back the treaty on Monday evening.
“I supported it in committee, I made a speech for it on the first day — sounds like it,” he said when asked if he would vote “yes.”