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Legislative Alert from Br. Steve Herro, Diocesan Social Concerns Director

Dear Colleagues:

Two major international concerns of the U.S. bishops require our action: promoting Senate ratification of the New START Treaty to reduce the nuclear threat and supporting peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

New START Treaty: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to take up a resolution of ratification of the New START Treaty in mid-September shortly after the Senate convenes in Washington on September 13. After the Committee votes, then the New START Treaty goes to the full Senate for a vote, but the timing is unclear.

You may find an action alert from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for this at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-05-14-aa-NewSTART.pdf. President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to verifiably reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles and to put in place new verification requirements (which had expired in December 2009 with the old START Treaty). The Treaty is supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See.

Senator Feingold is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee; please consider making contact as soon as possible (http://feingold.senate.gov/contact_opinion.html or 202-224-5323. Also contact Sen. Kohl (http://kohl.senate.gov/contact.cfm or 202-224-5653) because after the Committee vote (which is expected to recommend ratification), the Senate leadership will schedule a vote by the full Senate once there are sufficient votes for ratification.

Though you might have contacted your senator already on this issue, it pays to contact him again. Plus, there is an organized body in the U.S. that is opposing the treaty because it fears that it would limit the U.S.’ ability to provide for its own defense through nuclear deterrence.

Peace in the Holy Land: The U.S. Administration brought leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority together in Washington September 1-2 to restart direct negotiations on a peace agreement. The goal is to complete negotiations on final status issues within one year. There will be rejectionists on both sides who will try to undermine this effort. Let your members of Congress know that you support strong U.S. leadership to secure a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land.

There is an important interfaith letter from religious leaders, including Bp. Hubbard, Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, available at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-08-27-ltr-ecumenical-ip-direct-talks.pdf. Please see the action alert, with a link to your member of Congress,
at https://secure.crs.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=689.

Thank you for your consideration of these important measures.

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