September 26, 2013
By Leigh Munsil
Senate arms control hawks challenged President Barack Obama on Thursday to promise that he would not unilaterally reduce the size of the nuclear arsenal, despite his comments earlier this year.
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including Sens. Robert Menendez, Bob Corker and Marco Rubio, pressed the White House as they also hurled questions at Department of State and White House nominees on everything from Iran to Syrian chemical weapons to Russian compliance with existing nuclear treaties.
The U.S. is constantly pushing back against efforts by Iran and North Korea to advance their nuclear capacities, said Rose Gottemoeller, Obama’s nominee to be undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Gottemoeller also assured the senators that the administration is doing all it can to make sure Russia is on board with U.S. nonproliferation goals.
“I in particular have been working hard under tasking directly from our president, as he spoke [about] in Berlin, with regard to pursuing reductions with the Russian Federation,” she said. “I would be happy to talk more about this, but it has been a difficult slog, so we will continue to be pressing on that issue.”
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