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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bill May Force U.S. Hand In ABM Talks

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted to block the President Bill Clinton's administration from participating in the consulting body with Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty.

Republicans, who passed the amendment 240-188 late Wednesday, said it was needed to prevent the administration from changing the treaty without Senate ratification.

But Democrats decried the measure as an attempt to force the United States to break the agreement to control nuclear weapons.

"This amendment says if you are going to revise the treaty, come to the Senate and see if what you are doing has any logic whatsoever," Louisiana Republican Representative Bob Livingston said. Instead of continuing to negotiate the ABM treaty, Livingston said, "Let's defend Americans."

Republicans have complained the treaty could bar the United States from developing missile defense systems they say are necessary because of the number of rogue nations with sophisticated weapon technologies.

"This amendment does not abrogate the ABM treaty, but it stops the administration from imposing amendments to the ABM treaty without the advice and consent of the Senate," Pennsylvania Republican Curt Weldon said.

But Wisconsin Democratic Representative David Obey said the measure would "unilaterally take the United States out of compliance with the treaty."

The House passed the amendment as part of a $33 billion spending bill to run the Commerce, Justice and State Departments that the White House already has threatened to veto for other reasons.