- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
DeMint: Law of the Sea Treaty now dead
Question of the Day
The United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty now has 34 senators opposed to it and thus lacks the Senate votes needed for U.S. ratification, a key opponent of the treaty announced Monday.
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
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
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'
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world