I’m climbing out from under an enormous pile of work because I want to get you this really quick but crucial update on the fruits of our labor over this entire summer.
Just hours ago the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 in favor of the New START Treaty – and the calls, emails, and letters that you helped us generate made it happen.
Peace Action West helped bring together hundreds of groups to hone strategy on everything from direct lobbying, to media and editorial outreach, and of course, grassroots mobilizing. We mounted a huge national phonebank, coordinating with 24 organizations across the country, and generating over 4700 phone calls into Senate offices in just a few weeks. I’ve been hearing that Senate staffers are complaining about their phones ‘ringing off the hook!’
That sure makes me smile.
We’ve been targeting Republican members of the Committee, to show that there is a strong bipartisan majority in favor of this treaty as they send it to the Senate floor. And, this morning, Senators Lugar, Corker and Isakson moved across the aisle to join the Democrats in voting yes.
The fact that 3 Republicans voted in support of the treaty is fantastic news! In the middle of this vicious, partisan political climate we got a bipartisan vote on the first disarmament treaty in decades. The importance of bipartisanship is far more than symbolic. We are going need it to get the 67 votes we need to ultimately ratify this treaty.
And that brings me to the next phase of this campaign.
The current Senate session, which ends October 8th, is our best chance to get this treaty ratified, and in order to do that we need even more Republican support. It will take 8 Republicans to win, and even Corker and Isakson have not committed to voting yes on the final ratification yet.
Here’s why we are giving this modest little treaty everything we’ve got. We want to eliminate every last nuclear weapon in the world, and this treaty lays the groundwork for taking much larger steps. Russia and the US have 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons, and it’s crucial we lead by example, by making those reductions. On the other hand, allowing this treaty to fall victim to the Senate’s partisan games will suck the oxygen out of efforts for bigger steps, like a comprehensive test ban.
So, we are rallying our organizers to keep up the fight. We have only three weeks left, and we are continuing the coordinated, strategic effort to let key Republicans Senators know their constituents expect them to support New START. With your help, we will ramp up the phonebanking, the email alerts, the media outreach and the lobbying meetings.
Every moment counts, because the Senate sessions ends on October 8th. After that, we may have to wait until after the elections, and face a much tougher Senate. So we have to keep up the pressure for a vote as soon as possible.
For now I’m off to grab a drink with some colleagues and make a toast to this victory. Then it’s back to the ol’ pile of work, because there is much more to do. I’ll be letting you know when I need your help, very soon.