DeMint Caves, Won’t Force Reading of New START

Artist's depiction of Jim DeMint (R-SC) as deal to allow vote on New START treaty was announced in Senate. (photo: Forest Runner on Flickr)

Jim DeMint decided against forcing a reading of the new START treaty on the floor of the Senate. He’s hilariously trying to spin this as a victory because Harry Reid delayed the opening of the debate one day.

“Senator DeMint opposes ramming the controversial START Treaty in the lame duck session. After Senator DeMint asked for the entire treaty to be read aloud to slow down the process, Senator Reid relented and agreed to delay the debate until tomorrow.”

In reality, there wasn’t going to be a vote today, so there’s no difference here. Reid and McConnell made a deal to start debate tomorrow. The Senate voted to bring forward debate on the new START treaty by the robust count of 66-32. That actually would have won if it were the final vote, because you only need 2/3 of those voting to pass. And anyway, Democrat Evan Bayh did not vote. So there appear to be 67 votes in hand. Republicans voting in favor included:

Bennett, Scott Brown, Collins, Graham, Lugar, McCain, Murkowski, Snowe, Voinovich

Here’s my favorite part of this:

Mr. Reid struck a deal with his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to begin substantive debate on Thursday. Mr. DeMint, his arms crossed, sat on the floor and appeared unhappy as the deal was announced.


This doesn’t mean that the votes are definitely there for new START, but it puts supporters in a pretty strong position. The main thing that might derail it, in fact, is if the government funding issue takes days to sort out, and a final vote can’t happen. But for now, DeMint caved.

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