DATE=10/13/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SENATE-TEST BAN VOTE (L) NUMBER=2-254992 BYLINE=DAVID SWAN DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The U-S Senate has voted down a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons tests, handing President Clinton a major foreign policy defeat. V-O-A's David Swan reports on the debate over the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. TEXT: The action follows days of partisan squabbling on both the merits of the test ban and the timing of the vote. Some Republicans, who hold a majority in the Senate, were willing to grant the president's request to put off the vote and lay the treaty aside. But when the showdown came, just four Republicans broke ranks to actually support the treaty. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is one of those who opposed ratification, despite doubts. // Hutchison act // I don't like the fact that we are taking up this treaty now. I don't want to send a bad signal. But most of all I don't want to leave ourselves and our allies unprotected from some rogue nation that has nuclear capabilities and we know there are many. // end act // Besides the threat from rogue states, opponents say the test ban can not be effectively verified. They also charge it would compromise America's nuclear deterrent by making the nation's stockpile less safe and reliable. Treaty supporters acknowledge the pact is not foolproof, but say it is still a major step toward curbing the spread of nuclear arms worldwide. The treaty would outlaw all nuclear weapons tests, once it is ratified by a list of 44 nuclear-capable states. Like many of his colleagues, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin used the military coup in Pakistan to strengthen his case. // Harkin act // If nothing else, this ought to tell us to ratify this treaty or we're going to have more nuclear explosions in South Asia. It's a powderkeg waiting to happen. We ought to ratify this treaty. // end act // Despite statements like that one, Democrats knew from the start of this debate that ratification was unlikely. They focused on trying to avoid a vote and offered to not bring up the treaty again in this administration. But a small group of conservative senators wanted tougher assurances. The powerful Foreign Relations Comittee Chairman, Jesse Helms, is among those who fought to kill the accord outright. // Helms act // This treaty will not, could not, can not accomplish its highly exaggerated stated goal of halting the spread of nuclear weapons. // end act // Before the last few weeks the Clinton administration and some Democrats had repeatedly pushed for a vote. But now they bitterly complain Republicans rushed the accord to the Senate floor without time for proper debate. Senator Joseph Biden accused the opposition lawmakers of using national security for political gains - and he acknowledged he could not look at the issue without passion. // Biden act // Well, I'm not cool about this. My grandkids aren't going to be cool about this. You're not going to be cool about this when this gets red hot. // end act // Mr. Biden and others vow they will not let the matter die. The treaty can be sent to the Senate again - and if nothing else, Democrats can use the issue in next year's election campaign. Still, the vote is clearly a defeat for the president, who will have few more chances to leave a legacy in foreign affairs.(Signed) NEB/DS/PT 13-Oct-1999 19:52 PM EDT (13-Oct-1999 2352 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .