DATE=10/7/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SENATE-TEST BAN (L-ONITER) NUMBER=2-254783 BYLINE=DAVID SWAN DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: /// EDS: SENATE DEBATE SKED TO OPEN 9:30 A-M EDT /// INTRO: The U-S Senate is scheduled to take up the nuclear test ban treaty today (Friday), although it may not vote on ratifying the pact. Party leaders are talking about calling off the vote, which is set for next week - and would likely hand the administration an embarrassing defeat. V-O-A's David Swan reports. TEXT: Secretary of State Madeline Albright makes clear she wants the test ban approved - but would rather see the vote delayed than the treaty rejected outright. /// ALBRIGHT ACT /// Because it would be a national security tragedy if the world's greatest deliberative body (the Senate) killed a treaty that our nation has sought for 40 years by failing properly to deliberate on and appreciate its merits. /// END ACT /// All sides agree the treaty is far short of the two- thirds Senate majority needed for ratification. Although some Republicans are willing to put off the showdown, hardly any are ready to support the treaty. The lawmakers say the ban on underground testing can not be verified and would leave rogue nations untouched, but could weaken the U-S nuclear arsenal. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner says there are simply too many questions about the accord. /// WARNER ACT /// And I come from the old school that it should be beyond any reasonable doubt if we're going to take a step that affects our vital security interests for decades to come - indeed possibly into perpetuity as it relates to this cadre of weapons. /// END ACT /// Those who favor the test ban take the opposite tack - that it makes the United States more secure by curbing the spread of weapons elsewhere. The treaty's supporters also say its defeat would hurt America's credibility. Democratic Senator Carl Levin is among them. /// LEVIN ACT /// If we are not willing to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, what standing do we have to urge India, Pakistan, any country to stop testing? /// END ACT /// Democrats complain Republicans bottled up the treaty for two years, then forced it to the Senate floor on short notice. Leaders of both parties are now negotiating a delay in the vote. But the White House has balked at Republican demands that the president ask for a postponement in writing, and not bring up the treaty again during his term. Republican Senator Jesse Helms refuses to bend. /// HELMS ACT /// If Mr. Clinton does not submit a written request we will proceed with the vote and I am confident that the C-T-B-T will be defeated. So the president has a choice to make. /// END ACT /// Mr. Clinton has a few days to bargain. The final vote is not expected at least until Tuesday. But if the situation moves to that stage, he could easily lose one of the last big foreign policy battles of his presidency. (Signed) NEB/DS/TVM/gm 07-Oct-1999 18:47 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 2247 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .