Senate Restores CTBT PrepCom Funding

On September 1, the Senate approved an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that restored the Clinton administration's request of $28.9 million in fiscal year 1999 funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Preparatory Commission, which is establishing the treaty's verification regime. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations had cut the funding in July. (See ACT, June/July 1998.) Although the amendment, co-sponsored by Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), passed by a vote of 49-44, some opponents of the CTBT have pointed to the close margin as an indication that the treaty would not receive the 67 votes necessary if a vote on ratification were held promptly. CTBT supporters, however, have noted that the September 1 vote dealt only with a narrow funding issue that was easy to oppose and argue that the treaty itself would have received much stronger support.

Additional countries have ratified the CTBT in recent weeks. Germany, one of the 44 states whose ratification is necessary for the treaty to enter into force, deposited its instrument of ratification on August 20. As of mid-September, the treaty has been signed by 150 states and ratified by 20.