WASHINGTON (CN) – The fight over the Iran nuclear deal returned from the August recess to the floor of the U.S. Senate along with lawmakers Tuesday.
Having picked up enough votes over the recess to sustain a presidential veto of any Republican efforts to block the deal, Democrats added enough senators on Tuesday to possibly sustain a filibuster of such legislation as well.
The Senate approved a resolution in May to have the body vote on the deal, even though it is not classified as a treaty that would require such approval.
To avoid having President Barack Obama veto a bill disapproving the resolution, both party leaders insisted Tuesday that senators should be allowed to vote on the resolution of disapproval before the Senate instead using a filibuster.
The number of votes necessary for such a vote divided the parties.
Imploring Republicans to require at least 60 votes for a resolution disapproving the deal to pass the Senate, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid cited the numerous times Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supported such a threshold for bills in the past.
Reid said the only reason legislation on the Senate’s rejection of the Iran deal would not need 60 votes to pass is if McConnell rejected “reasonable” proposals by Democrats to trade the party’s promise not to filibuster the resolution in exchange for a 60-vote threshold for the resolution’s passage.
Reid accused Republicans of forcing the Iran deal through procedural hurdles, rather than accepting his proposal to bring the legislation to a vote after three days of debate, to delay consideration of the budget and looming government shutdown.
“Republicans are trying to pull a bait and switch,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday.
Reid moved to delay other votes until the Senate had the chance to vote on the disapproval motion on the Iran deal, and to schedule a vote Thursday that would require 60 senators to support the disapproval motion.
McConnell objected to Reid’s suggestion, and proposed holding the vote earlier the same day but with a simple-majority requirement for approval.
With Reid objecting to that suggestion, McConnell gave a floor speech asking the Democrat to stop his party from filibustering the resolution of disapproval when it does come to the floor.
“I expect that every senator who voted on that bill to have the right to an up or down vote,” McConnell said his speech Tuesday.
While members of both parties said they wanted the chance to vote on the bill, no such action happened Tuesday.
Instead, senators from both sides made lengthy floor speeches outlining their support or opposition to the deal.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., said a partisan filibuster of the resolution of disapproval would be a “self-inflicted wound” on the Senate’s image, both before the world and the country.
Cornyn encouraged his colleagues to allow a vote on the bill.
“I would hate the fact … that the Iranian parliament will have a more open, accountable and democratic process than the United States Senate,” Cornyn said on the floor Tuesday.
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