GOP Opposition to Iran Deal Dies on Floor

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Democrats on Thursday blocked a Republican effort against President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
     Having consumed the Senate’s first week back after the August recess, debate on the “resolution of disapproval” is the latest issue to divide the body along largely partisan lines.
     The resolution disapproves specifically of a deal to end international economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country limiting its nuclear program.
     “Today’s outcome is clear, decisive and final,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor after the vote. “There is no doubt whatsoever that the United States Congress will allow this historic agreement to proceed.”
     Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture Wednesday on legislation condemning the landmark international agreement.
     His party’s next option sought to have President Barack Obama veto their resolution, but that measure fell two votes short of succeeding Thursday.
     Republicans could muster only 58 of the 60 votes necessary to end debate on the resolution of disapproval and bring it to an up and down vote before the Senate.
     Forty-two democrats voted against invoking cloture on the resolution.
     Democrats Ben Cardin of Maryland, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York voted to end debate on the resolution.
     The vote’s failure was all but decided over the August recess when enough senators came out in favor of the deal to let Democrats sustain a presidential veto on the resolution of disapproval or to prevent the resolution from ever reaching the president’s desk through a filibuster.
     All that remained to be seen was whether the resolution’s failure would be in cloture vote or in the vote to pass it and send it to the president.
     Sens. McConnell and Reid sparred earlier this week over the number of votes required to send the resolution of disapproval to the president’s desk.
     Reid asked McConnell to require 60 votes to approve the deal, which would all but guarantee its failure on the floor. McConnell rebuffed Reid’s efforts and insisted a simple majority would be enough for the senate to send the resolution to President Obama, forcing a veto to preserve the president’s signature foreign-policy deal.
     Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., implored McConnell from the Senate floor to let lawmakers have an up or down vote on the resolution of disapproval, rather than allowing such an important vote to die with a procedural vote.
     Critics of the deal say the influx of money from the removal of economic sanctions will allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to increase its efforts to destabilize the Middle East. They also predict that Iran will cheat on any deal with the international community.
     “Clearly the question is what did we get from this agreement in terms of what we originally sought?” Menendez said on the floor before the cloture vote.
     Proponents say the deal is the only alternative to a war with Iran, and that rejecting it would prevent Iran from ever returning to the negotiating table on the issue again.
     “Unilateral sanctions alone are not enough,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said on the floor before the vote.
     After the vote Reid chastised McConnell for filing cloture on the resolution at all, saying it distracted the Senate from working to prevent the looming government shutdown and other funding issues before the body.
     “I would hope we could get around to doing something about that rather than having a wasted cloture motion on something that we agreed to have a vote,” Reid said after the vote.
     McConnell refiled cloture on the resolution, setting up another fight next week.
     “It’s telling that Democrats would go to such extreme lengths to prevent President Obama from even having to consider legislation on this issue,” McConnell said in a statement Thursday. “If the president is so proud of this deal, then he shouldn’t be afraid. He should wield his veto pen with pride and explain his rationale to the American people.”

%d bloggers like this: