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Renewed Pitch For New START Ratification: Obama Administration representatives last week called on the Senate to take up the New START arms control treaty with Russia promptly upon reconvening next week. And they urged Senators to ratify the pact before year's end when the current Congress concludes. "We hope the Senate will address this as quickly as possible," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell during a press briefing. He added, "We've been almost a year now without the [previous] START treaty and its verification provisions." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs appealed to Senators to continue their "bipartisan tradition" in deciding upon arms control agreements. The shift in power towards the Republicans in last week's Congressional midterm election should not change this tradition, he said. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of the treaty in September. Morrell denied that the Administration is pushing for ratification now in the belief that the treaty would stand a lesser chance of approval in the next Congress in which the Democrats will have six fewer Senate seats, 53, to the GOP's 47. (Gibbs transcript) (Morrell transcript)