The Senate voted to prevent the United States from entering into a United Nations arms treaty — even before one is drafted.
The measure passed by a 53-46 vote in the wee hours of Saturday morning as the Senate considered amendments to the fiscal 2014 budget. All 45 Republicans in the Senate, along with eight Democrats, voted for the amendment.
The treaty is scheduled to be completed on Thursday. U.N. officials have been conducting the final rounds of the negotiations aimed at a treaty to regulate the $70 billion conventional arms trade, Reuters reported.
Pro-gun groups in the United States have raised concerns over whether the treaty would trump the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“We’re negotiating a treaty that cedes our authority to have trade agreements with our allies in terms of trading arms,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to The Hill
The Senate separately passed by voice vote an amendment by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, clarifying that treaties do not trump the Constitution and declaring that the United States should refuse to agree to an arms treaty which violated the Second Amendment.
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said it was irresponsible to consider major foreign policy issues at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, The Hill reported.
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