The Obama Administration is currently negotiating with Russia to establish a treaty to succeed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired on December 5th.

As the Heritage Foundation has documented, the Administration’s mishandling of strategic nuclear arms control discussions to date has resulted in a hasty and overambitious process that has threatened to circumvent the U.S. Senate’s role in treaty-making and undermine vital national interests.

Yesterday, 40 Republican senators and one independent voiced their concerns about the process and pointed out how a START follow-on may threaten U.S. national security.

The 41 senators—a large enough group to block ratification of a new treaty, which would require 67 votes—wrote a letter to President Obama indicating that they will only endorse a new START accord if it includes specific plans for U.S. nuclear modernization, as outlined in Section 1251 of the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

The plurality of senators stated: “We don’t believe further reductions can be in the national security interest of the U.S. in the absence of a significant program to modernize our nuclear deterrent.”

These members of Congress are right. The Heritage Foundation shares this view and applauds the steps taken by the group of 41 senators to safeguard our nuclear deterrent. As the negotiations proceed, the Senate will continue to have an important role to play—as envisioned in the Constitution—to ensure that a START follow-on is drafted with the highest standards and regard for America’s security.