WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama rallied support for a stalled nuclear treaty from former Secretary of State Colin Powell Wednesday, as both men warned of consequences if the Senate fails to ratify the agreement with Russia.
"When you have uncertainty in the area of nuclear weapons, that's a much more dangerous world to live in," Obama said from the Oval Office after a meeting with Powell and Vice President Joe Biden.
Powell, a retired four-star Army general and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said he fully supports the treaty, and believes Obama has adequately addressed concerns of Republicans lawmakers. Failing to ratify the treaty, Powell said, could leave the U.S. in a vulnerable position.
"We're not exactly sure what's going on in the Russian Federation, and they're not exactly sure what's going on in the United States," Powell said.
Obama has urged lawmakers to ratify the treaty by the end of the year. But leading Republican lawmakers argue that there are more pressing priorities to address during the lame-duck session of Congress and the GOP has threatened to block any Senate floor business other than budgetary or tax issues.
However, White House officials were cautiously optimistic Wednesday that momentum for passing START was building after some Republicans appeared to leave the door open for ratification. Officials specifically pointed to comments from Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who both indicated they'd like to finish work on the treaty this year.
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