On Tuesday, November 30, NETWORK hosted a conference call on the New START (“Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty”) agreement. The call was offered for Catholic activists in states whose senators will be key votes in advancing the treaty. We were joined by Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. Asst. Sec. Gottemoeller was the lead negotiator of for New START, and has been an important advocate for moving the treaty toward ratification. Over 70 activists from key states called in to participate.
Asst. Sec. Gottemoeller offered a brief account of why New START is important. She emphasized four points:
A caller asked a question about the nature of the opposition to New START. What exactly are the arguments against the treaty? Asst. Sec. Gottemoeller reviewed some common objections.
For further information on New START, read the following Fact Sheets:
Also, read an article by Rose Gottemoeller in The Hill: http://www.hillpundit.com/special-reports/lame-duck-december-2010/131237-lets-get-back-to-work-with-russia-we-need-new-start-treaty-in-force
After taking a handful of questions, Asst. Sec. Gottemoeller left the conference call. The next speaker was Steve Colecchi, Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of International justice and Peace. Steve emphasized that we need New START to pass, and to pass with an overwhelming vote. As we move forward on other nuclear efforts, it will be important that the New START vote demonstrates the broad bipartisan support for nuclear arms reduction. The Senate will hopefully take action on the treaty during either the week of Dec. 6 or Dec. 13.
Between now and then, the advocates need to contact all senators, with special emphasis on Republicans. Steve emphasized that, as Catholic, we are motivated by our faith to protect people from indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons, including nuclear weapons.
To read Bishop Howard Hubbard’s letter urging the Senate to ratify New START, click here: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-11bishop-hubbardto-senateon-new-start.pdf
Steve was followed by David Golemboski of NETWORK, who urged callers to take three actions: (1) Email their senators; (2) Call their senators; (3) Organize friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to do the same. Also, gathering statements of support from community leaders can help build momentum. The matter is urgent, so there is no time to waste before taking action.
To email your senators via NETWORK’s website, click here: http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=15295801
To call your senators, use the Capitol Switchboard: 1 (202) 224-3121.