Statement of Vice President Al Gore on Senate Rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

White House Press Release
October 13, 1999

Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release Wednesday, October 13, 1999
Contact: (202) 456-7035


In a vote marred by political spite, Senate Republicans today ignored bipartisan appeals to national security and rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- a Treaty to ban nuclear weapons testing and help fight the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.

As a former member of the Senate, I am deeply disturbed to see former colleagues rush to embrace partisanship over statesmanship on a matter so important to safeguarding the national security of the United States.

The responsibility for this abdication of American leadership rests on the increasingly political motives of Senate Republicans. They started a fire of political partisanship they could not put out -- ultimately leaving the fate of a crucial international treaty in the hands of those who would play politics with nuclear weapons.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has the unanimous support of the President?s national security team. It has been endorsed by four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Administrations. It has the overwhelming support of the American people. It deserves the fair and thoughtful analysis of the United States Senate. It has not yet received it.

Notwithstanding the Senate?s rush to reject this Treaty, I call on nations around the world to refrain from nuclear testing, and move forward in signing and ratifying the Treaty. I call on the Senate to renounce the partisan climate that denied Treaty supporters the time and opportunity to answer the honest disagreements of the Treaty opponents. And I urge the Senate to resume debate on this Treaty in an open, honest, and informed manner -- in a manner that does credit to our democracy.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would make it harder for other nations to test nuclear devices, and easier for us to find out about it if they do. It is an indispensable tool in our fight to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. I support the Treaty wholeheartedly, and I will continue to work to see it ratified.