GOP leaders have vowed to block the passing of a new treaty between the United States and Russia, while Democrats have claimed that they have the necessary votes to pass the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled a procedural vote for START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) on Dec. 21, while President Barack Obama has delayed his Christmas vacation in Hawaii in order to lobby Senators to back the legislation, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in both Russia and the U.S.
Democrats have indicated that they have the 67 votes needed to approve the treaty, which would include at least nine Republicans. Obama is pushing for the ratification during the lame-duck session because the GOP will gain seats in the Senate in January.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he does not support the treaty, and he believes the administration is trying to rush the implementation of a policy without fully revealing its implications.
"The administration has taken the same cart-before-the-horse approach on the treaty before us," said McConnell, quoted by FOX News. "We had to rush this treaty, according to the logic of the administration because it had become an important component in the effort to 'reset' the bilateral relationship with the Russian Federation. It was brought up for debate prematurely because it was the first step in a pre-determined arms control agenda."
Other issues that the Senate is set to address before the session ends is a continuing resolution to fund the Federal government until March, as well as a healthcare bill for Sept. 11 emergency workers.