Senators Debate Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) urged the Obama Administration not to bypass the Senate and request United Nations Security Council action on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. “I just want to make sure that we are not allowing an administration on the way out the door to do something that ends up binding us through customary international law down the road,” said Corker during a Sept. 7 hearing. “I have watched through the years, and the responsibilities of the United States Senate have eroded. And I am just here today with this hearing and pushing back against the administration to try to make sure we do everything we can to ensure that is not something that continues.” The Senate voted against US ratification of the CTBT in 1999. Although 164 nations have signed on, the treaty still has not gone into force because it requires ratification by several other nations, including the US, North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. SFRC Ranking member Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said, “the underlining strategy on how do we stop emerging nuclear powers from testing is an important issue that needs to be dealt [with]. And the Obama administration, I believe, is using its opportunities at the United Nations to advance that, not to advance the treaty.” (Corker release.)