Sea Treaty all but dead, 34 GOP senators oppose
WASHINGTON (AP) — A treaty governing the high seas is all but dead in the Senate as two Republican senators announced their opposition Monday, giving conservative foes the necessary votes to scuttle the pact.
Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — both mentioned as possible running mates for likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — said they had serious concerns about the breadth and ambiguity of the Law of the Sea treaty and would oppose it if called up for a vote. The Constitution requires two-thirds of the Senate — 67 votes — to ratify a treaty; Portman and Ayotte bring the number of opponents to 34 along with Sens. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
The development was a blow to the Obama administration, military leaders and the business community led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who had argued that the treaty would improve national security and enhance U.S. standing in the world. They had pressed for ratification of the treaty, which was concluded in 1982 and has been in force since 1994. The United States is the only major nation that has refused to sign the pact.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and other conservatives have led the campaign against the treaty, contending that it would undermine U.S. sovereignty. DeMint heralded the latest development on Twitter, saying, "34 Senators now oppose LOST, sinking the misguided treaty."
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