Upon the advice of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama has confirmed his intention to sign two controversial U.N. treaties -- the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and the so called "small arms" treaty.
Although many citizens and elected representatives are sounding the alarm about the small arms treaty, such as this entry Sunday at the Daily Paul, some political observers note that the treaty is unlikely to pass the Senate. But a very different scenario is developing for the Law of the Sea.
Twenty Republican senators are set to join with Democrats in upholding LOST. Some who are included in the list of 20 are those who have not yet decided how they will vote on the issue. Thus, the list of 20 includes those who have either declared support for LOST or declined to indicate their views on the subject one way or the other
In a breaking update, two of the 20 Republican senators have now indicated they will oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty. One political activist stated that it is important for citizens to call the offices of all 20 to make sure those Senators are on the record with their intent to vote against the treaty. McConnell and Toomey now state they will vote no.
The U.S. Constitution grants authority to presidents to enter into treaty agreements with other nations and entities. But due to the fact that a treaty, if approved, becomes the law of the land, the U.S. Senate must approve by an exact two-thirds majority rather than the simple supermajority of 60 votes. This means that 67 votes are needed in the Senate to approve a treaty.
Most political observers believe that all 53 Democrats in the Senate will vote to approve LOST. And if the 20 Republicans who have failed to indicate opposition to the treaty hold firm, the Senate will have more than the required 67 votes to pass.
The 20 Republicans who are apparently set to uphold the treaty, or who have not yet decided, are Enzi, McConnell, Hutchison, Toomey, Johanns, Ayotte, Graham, McCain, Lugar, Kirk, Snowe, Collins, Murkowski, Isakson, Grassley, Portman, Corker, Cochran, Brown, and Alexander.
This is a continually developing story that is changing on an hour by hour basis. For the latest information on who in the Senate has decided to oppose the treaty, consult late breaking articles here and here.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan rejected LOST outright due to encroachments on U.S. sovereignty. Thus, the question arises as to why these 20 Republicans would be indicating support for a treaty that Reagan saw as an international attempt to usurp American sovereignty and thus supersede the U.S. Constitution.
The small arms treaty, on the other hand, is facing a much more difficult task in gaining the approval of the Senate. Although it is possible to muster 67 votes to approve, too many Democrats are facing reelection in states where gun rights are important. Democrats now have a 53 seat majority. Even if all of the Democrats voted in favor, 14 Republicans would have to join them in order for the measure to pass.
In an election year during a period of time in U.S. history when citizens have indicated in various ways that they oppose any more gun control in any form, it is difficult to imagine 14 Republicans voting in favor of such a treaty.
But as indicated by Forbes Magazine such assumptions are premature. Some senators are always loathe to oppose any treaty signed by a president for the fear of negatively impacting U.S. prestige on the international stage.
Thus, conservatives have sounded the alarm about the treaty to make sure citizens pressure their senators to vote no.
A look at some of the provisions of the treaty will reveal why many conservatives are alarmed. By international law all citizens in the United States would find it more difficult to purchase firearms due to tough registration and licensing requirements. The sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic firearms would be banned. And an international registry of gun owners would be created, which many gun rights enthusiasts view as a precursor to a worldwide ban on gun ownership.
Using the United Nations to enact strict gun control measures on Americans could be what Obama meant when he stated months ago that his administration is working on gun control "under the radar."
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