Senate approves New START, 71 to 26

SENATE APPROVES NEW START, 71 TO 26…. After the cloture vote garnered 67 votes yesterday, the question wasn’t whether the pending nuclear arms treaty, New START, would get the necessary support, but whether ratification would top 70 votes.

It did. The Senate just concluded its final vote on the treaty, and a 71-member bipartisan majority approved New START. There were 26 opponents, all of whom were Republicans. The minority included Sens. McCain, Graham, and Hatch, all of whom had previously expressed support for the measure.

More soon.

Update: Democrats, at the outset, needed nine GOP votes to ratify. As of the weekend, there were seven. Today, there were 13 Republican votes.

Yesterday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said yesterday, “In today’s Senate, 70 votes is yesterday’s 95.” That strikes me as entirely accurate.

The 13 Republicans who backed the treaty: Alexander (Tenn.), Bennett (Utah), Brown (Mass.), Corker (Tenn.), Cochran (Miss.), Collins (Maine), Gregg (N.H.), Isakson (Ga.), Johanns (Neb.), Lugar (Ind.), Murkowski (Alaska), Snowe (Maine), and Voinovich (Ohio). Of these, arguably the biggest surprise is Johanns, who had not indicated support before today.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.