WASHINGTON — U.S. Republican lawmakers are trying to block President Barack Obama's overtures to Russia on missile defense, creating a potential obstacle to arms control talks.
Lawmakers are proposing a measure that would bar the administration from sharing classified missile defense data with Russia.
That would undercut a path that arms control advocates have urged to restart nuclear talks, which have been set back by a missile defense dispute. They say that if the U.S. releases classified data, it could persuade Moscow that the system is not targeting Russian missiles.
Republicans are wary of any concessions to Russia and see President Barack Obama as being too weak in negotiations.
The proposal is part of a defense bill that is in its early stages in the legislative process. Its prospects for becoming law are uncertain.
The administration has not said whether it is prepared to release missile defense data to Russia, but the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Vice Admiral James Syring, said recently that the administration has discussed the possibility.
The defense bill would also direct the Missile Defense Agency to inform Congress about any recent instances in which it has already declassified information to provide it to Russia. It would also require the administration to develop a plan to pressure Russia and China to restrict the transfer of ballistic missile technology to Syria, Iran and North Korea.