Christmas has come a little early for former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, now Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the U.S. State Department.
The U.S. Senate today in a vote of 71 to 26 ratified a new arms control treaty with Russia that will cap nuclear warheads and restart on-site weapons inspections. As the undersecretary over arms control who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tauscher played a key role in the treaty negotiations.
And earlier today, President Barack Obama signed legislation that ends a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military. Tauscher was the original cosponsor of the bill; she turned it over to Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., before she left Congress in 2009 for her new job.
Tauscher cannot, in her new position, comment on the military legislation she wrote, but sources say Murphy called her Saturday, and in a touching conversation, told the former legislator that the bill “wouldn’t have happened without her.”
Tauscher is under no such prohibition on the subject of the START treaty, although she made her statement as she recovers from esophageal cancer surgery performed earlier this month.
“I want to congratulate the United States Senate for providing its advice and consent to ratification of the new START Treaty,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “I want to commend the senators from both parties who worked to achieve this positive outcome for our country.”
She added, “The new START Treaty is another step that will help move the United States and Russia toward a world of mutual assured stability. This treaty will enhance cooperation with Russia and reinforce the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.”
Tauscher went on to praise a variety of leaders, saying “The leadership of President (Barack) Obama, Vice President (Joe) Biden, Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton, Secretary (Robert) Gates, Admiral (Mike) Mullen, and the Director of National Intelligence were indispensable. Once again, I want to thank the Senate for putting U.S. security first and voting for the new START Treaty.”