Third Time no Charm for GOP in Iran Deal

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A last-minute effort from Republicans to stop the nuclear deal with Iran failed on the floor Thursday, as the Senate shifts to a battle over an abortion bill and the government shutdown looms at the end of the month.
     The resolution of disapproval that Democrats blocked Thursday marks the third since the August recess ended last week. Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Thursday was the deadline for the Senate to take action on the deal.
     An amendment to the latest resolution that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attached Tuesday had hinged approval of the nuclear deal on President Barack Obama’s promise to make Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist and win the release of Iran’s U.S. prisoners.
     The vote to invoke cloture and end Democratic filibustering on McConnell’s amendment failed 53-45.
     Three Democrats who supported cloture in previous votes – Sens. Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez and Chuck Schumer – voted against the measure today.
     With the end of the fiscal year and a potential government shutdown looming, Senate Democrats criticized Republican leadership for holding three cloture votes that were all but guaranteed to fail.
     Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused McConnell of trying to score “cheap political points” by bringing the resolution of disapproval back to the floor for a third time. Reid again emphasized the need for the body to consider spending bills that would keep the government open after the fiscal year ends.
     Before the vote, even Republicans were showing fatigue. Calling the vote unnecessary and fated to fail, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona encouraged McConnell to abandon the cloture vote and put in place yes-or-no, 60-vote threshold
     “We know the end of this movie already,” Flake said on the floor.
     The Senate now prepares to shift from a fight over the Iranian nuclear deal to a bill that would ban abortions after five months of pregnancy.
     McConnell brought the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to the floor earlier this week, and several senators have threatened to shut down the government if Congress does not defund Planned Parenthood.
     This bill is next on the table, McConnell said after the cloture vote failed.
     Democrats criticized the move as the Senate must pass a spending bill before government funding expires on Oct. 1.
     “It seems to me that we are coming dangerously close to a shutdown without, to the best of my knowledge, any substantive or serious conversation to solve the now months-long impasse,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said after leaving the floor.
     But on the floor Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, encouraged McConnell’s decision to bring the bill to the floor, saying the legislation would save “thousands” of lives.
     “America can and must do better than this,” Cornyn said on the floor after mentioning America is one of seven countries to allow abortions after five months. “Every life is a precious gift of God and we must protect those who can’t protect themselves.”

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