News Release     Senator Pete V. Domenici
OCTOBER 13, 1999


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today lamented the parliamentary brinkmanship that brought an ill-timed vote on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) --despite bipartisan appeals to the Senate leadership to delay such action.

Domenici and a bipartisan group of Senators yesterday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Trent Loft and Minority Leader Tom Daschle urging further action on the treaty be delayed until the 107th Congress. Senators both for and against ratification of the test ban pact urged the Senate leaders to "recognize that the nation s best interests, the nation s vital business, is and must always be the first concern of the Presidency and Congress."

Domenici also reported that President Clinton called him shortly before the final senate debate on the treaty to inquire whether there was any last-minute escape from the parliamentary snag that compelled today s vote. Senate rules restricted such a move, despite efforts by Domenici and others to work with the Senate leadership and the administration to find a path around a vote on CTBT ratification.

Domenici today issued this statement following a Senate vote (48-yes; 51-no; 1-present) rejecting ratification of the CTBT. A two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, was required to ratify the treaty.

"As I said earlier this week, I oppose this treaty for two major reasons: 1) the treaty cannot be considered apart from other major arms control agreements into which the United States has entered; and, 2) science-based stockpile stewardship has not yet been given enough time to prove w tether or not it will give us the assurance we need in the reliability and safety of our nuclear weapons without physical testing.

"However, the vote by the Senate today to reject this treaty was ill-timed and this prior timing could have adverse consequences in the world. No need exists now for a vote: after all, the United States is not now testing and has no plans in the immediate future to do so. This has been recognized by proponents and opponents of this treaty who have asked for delay in the vote. I have attempted during the past four weeks to help forge some path out of the parliamentary impasse in the Senate, an impasse that has compelled this vote. We found no such path, unfortunately.

"Treaties never die, even when defeated and returned to the Executive Calendar of the Senate. Therefore, we will have another chance to debate the CTBT. And, it may well be that if my concerns about the overall strategic arms strategies and their relationship to CTBT can be alleviated, and if the potential for stockpile stewardship during the next decade can be realized, I will be able to vote for a CTBT in the future."