- Atheists sue to remove ‘Ground Zero Cross’ from 9/11 museum
- Bishop in Aleppo: ‘We Christians live in fear in Syria’
- Oscar Pistorius vomits during graphic testimony
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford flubs daylight saving time advice: ‘Turn your clocks back’
- Americans don’t support sending U.S. troops to Ukraine
- Florida lawmakers move to wipe corrupt ‘Boss Hogg’ town from map
- N.C. math whiz to unveil secret of March Madness picks
- An appealing offer: Chiquita merges with Fyffes to make world’s largest banana firm
- Amnesty International says Syria guilty of war crimes for food blockade
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: ‘We are going to crush them’
DeMint: Law of the Sea Treaty now dead
But the treaty’s main Senate proponent denies the treaty is sunk, saying plenty of time still exists to win support before a planned late-year vote.
The Law of the Sea Treaty, which entered into force in 1994 and has been signed and ratified by 162 countries, establishes international laws governing the maritime rights of countries. The treaty has been signed but not ratified by the U.S., which would require two-thirds approval of the Senate.
Critics of the treaty argue that it would subject U.S. sovereignty to an international body, require American businesses to pay royalties for resource exploitation and subject the U.S. to unwieldy environmental regulations as defined.
The list of treaty opponents has been growing, and on Monday, Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and a leader of efforts to block it, announced that four more Republicans have said that they would vote against ratification: Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraka, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.
This head count of treaty opponents — if the number stands — would make it impossible to reach the 67 votes needed to ratify the pact, which Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, plans to bring to a vote.
“No letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican secretary of state say that this needs to happen, and that’s why it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for the Law of the Sea,” Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth said.
Ms. Seth said the senator decided long ago to delay requesting a vote on the treaty until after the November elections because “right now we’re in the middle of a white-hot political campaign season where ideology is running in overdrive.”
“That’s why Sen. Kerry made it clear from Day One that there wouldn’t be a vote before the election and until everyone’s had the chance to evaluate the treaty on the facts and the merits away from the politics of the moment,” she said.
Proponents of ratification argue that member nations are establishing rules of the sea that the U.S. would have to adhere to without a vote. They also argue that by ratifying the treaty, the U.S. would protect its claims and rights to mine America’s continental sea shelves and offshore waters for natural resources without interference from other countries or other entities.
Without ratification, U.S. energy companies won’t have the security they need to invest in exploring those areas for resources, supporters say.
The influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the treaty, saying it would be a boon to the U.S. economy by providing domestic companies “the legal certainty and stability they need to hire and invest.”
“At any given time, hundreds of U.S. flag ships and ships owned by U.S. companies rely on the freedom of navigation rights codified in the treaty while crossing the world’s oceans,” said chamber President and Chief Executive Thomas J. Donohue, testifying last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “While we can always rely on the U.S. Navy to ensure lawful passage of U.S.-flagged and owned ships, it only makes sense to join with the international community in establishing and protecting lawful passage on the high seas.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CURL: Today's GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- As Crimea falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again