Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Tuesday he would block a vote on a new arms-control agreement with Russia, at least until the next session of Congress begins in the new year, The New York Times
Kyl's decision is a setback for President Obama, who had hoped to sign the New Start treaty, one of his major foreign policy undertakings, before the end of the year.
"When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame-duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to Start and modernization," Kyl said in a statement obtained by the Times.
Kyl said he would continue to work with White House officials for a possible vote in 2011.
New Start would scale back U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals and put back into place mutual inspections that ended last year. It's the first part of the administration's long-term plan to eliminate nuclear arms globally.
The Times said the administration would continue to push for a vote over the next month anyway, despite its diminished chances.
"Given New Start's bipartisan support and enormous importance to our national security, the time to act is now, and we will continue to seek its approval by the Senate before the end of the year," Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.