The Senate on Wednesday ratified a new arms control treaty with Russia that will scale back nuclear arsenals amassed by the cold war superpowers.
As a signal of the treaty's importance, Vice President Joseph Biden, who also is the president of the Senate, took the unusual step of personally presiding over the vote. Another former senator, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, also was on the floor during the 71-to-26 roll call vote.
Sen. Sanders voted for ratification. "This treaty will reduce the stockpiles of the world's biggest nuclear powers, improve our ability to monitor Russia's nuclear arsenal, demonstrate our commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, preserve our ability to defend ourselves and take an important step forward in improving our relations with Russia," he said "I'm glad that it passed."
The New Start treaty lowers the maximum number of strategic weapons allowed by previous treaties between the United States and Russia.
The U.S. now has 1,950 deployed strategic warheads and 798 deployed launchers, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Russia has an estimated 2,540 deployed strategic warheads and 574 launchers.