A senior Obama administration official on Saturday signaled the United States was not in a rush to ratify a key arms control treaty.
Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, in remarks given in Marjuro, Marshall Islands, said the “United States will be patient in our pursuit of ratification” of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, “but we will also be persistent.”
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty must still be ratified by eight advanced nuclear-energy countries, including the United States, for its prohibition against all nuclear tests to become the law of the land.
The Obama administration has long made public its desire to see Washington ratify the accord, but has acknowledged that securing two-thirds Senate approval in the currently polarized political climate would be difficult.
“It has been a long time since the CTBT was on the front pages of newspapers, so we will need time to make the case for this treaty,” Gottemoeller said in her speech. The address was timed for Nuclear Remembrance Day, a national holiday in the Marshall Islands that honors the victims of U.S. atomic testing in the region.
From 1946 to 1958, the United States carried out 67 atmospheric nuclear tests above the Marshall Islands’ Bikini and Enewetak atolls.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is precisely our deep understanding of the consequences of nuclear weapons — including the dangerous health effects of nuclear explosive testing — that has guided and motivated our efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate these most dangerous and awe-inspiring weapons,” Gottemoeller said. “Entry into force of the CTBT is one such essential part of our pragmatic, step-by-step approach to eliminating nuclear dangers.”
A Senate confirmation vote for Gottmoeller — to permanently take on the role of undersecretary of State for arms control and international security — is expected to take place sometime this week.
What We're Following See More »
In a unanimous decision, "the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it violates insider-trading laws for a corporate officer to make a “gift” of insider information to a relative, a decision that makes it easier for those who police Wall Street to bring prosecutions."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.
As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."