DATE=10/1/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SENATE-TEST BAN (L-UPDATE) NUMBER=2-254567 BYLINE=DAVID SWAN DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The U-S Senate has scheduled a vote this month on whether to ratify the worldwide nuclear test ban treaty. As V-O-A's David Swan reports, President Clinton's Democratic allies have reluctantly accepted the terms for the debate, which they fear could go against the administration. TEXT: While the president and his supporters have pushed for a vote on the treaty, this scenario is not the one they wanted. Democrats were caught off guard when Republicans suddenly offered to bring the pact to the Senate floor, where the opposition lawmakers believe they have the votes to kill it. However, Democrats have agreed to start debate next Friday (10/8), with the vote on ratification to come the following week. Though they complain bitterly about the Republican tactics, Democrats say this deal is the best they can hope for. Delaware Senator Joseph Biden bluntly summed up the situation. /// Biden act /// We have no choice. Our choice is either let it (the treaty) die by attrition and no one be held accountable or take a shot at it and have the president and all of us make the strongest case we can between now and the time of the vote as to why this is so overwhelmingly significant to my grandchildren. /// end act /// One-hundred-and-52 countries have signed the test ban, but nuclear-capable states have been slow to ratify it. The treaty's supporters say U-S approval will spur other nations to follow suit, hopefully including nuclear rivals India and Pakistan as well as China and Russia. But Republican critics say the treaty means unilateral disarmament for the United States. Majority Leader Trent Lott argues the country needs the freedom to test its weapons and maintain its nuclear stockpile. /// Lott act /// But if we can not be assured of the safety and reliability of these weapons then that goes right to the heart of the whole issue. Before you get to discussion about what it means to Pakistan or North Korea, you need to know what is going to happen over a period of time in terms of safety, risk to people. /// end act /// As of now, the test ban is considered to be far short of ratification. A two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, is needed, which means 22 Republicans would have to vote for the treaty. So far, only a few Republicans are believed ready to do so. The Clinton administration has promised an all-out campaign for the treaty in the days ahead. Defense Secretary William Cohen is cutting short an East Asian trip to return to Washington for a White House strategy meeting Monday. But the president is facing an uphill fight for one of the last big foreign policy goals of his term. (Signed) NEB/DS/JP 01-Oct-1999 16:24 PM EDT (01-Oct-1999 2024 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .