By Paul McLeary
June 26, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration faced renewed heat from Congress last week on a number of national security fronts, ranging from the president’s new proposal for reducing US and Russian nuclear arsenals to the recent decision to supply arms and supplies to the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria.
Just days after House Republicans passed a fiscal 2014 defense budget that seeks to restrict presidential actions regarding nuclear arms reduction talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama doubled down on his oft-stated goal of a nuclear weapons-free future during a June 19 speech in Berlin.
Using the historic Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop, which American presidents since John F. Kennedy have utilized as a launching pad for ambitious initiatives aimed at the former Soviet Union, Obama called for a reduction in the two countries’ deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.
The move would come on top of the reductions called for under the 2010 New START treaty signed by the two Cold War rivals. Together, the two countries account for about 90 percent of the world’s estimated 17,000 nukes.
Back home, Capitol Hill Republicans, already wary of the president’s 2010 New START deal, lashed out against the proposal.
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