Iran Deal: Democrats Block Senate Vote with Filibuster

AP Photo
AP Photo

Senate Democrats used a filibuster to prevent a vote on the Iran deal on Thursday. The move will also prevent President Barack Obama from having to use his veto power to block the motion of disapproval.

The vote was 58-42 in favor of ending debate and proceeding to a vote. 60 votes were needed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats for preventing the vote, saying Americans deserved “to know where their elected Senators stand on this important issue.”

Several moderate Democrats who had supported the deal, and who had been lobbied heavily in recent days to allow the vote, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

“The President’s so proud of this deal? Then he shouldn’t be afraid,” McConnell said.

McConnell himself came under fire at yesterday’s Capitol Hill rally against the Iran deal, sponsored by the Tea Party and the Zionist Organization of America.

Critics based McConnell for not insisting that the Iran deal be considered as a treaty under the Constitution’s Treaty Clause, which requires a two-thirds vote of Senators present to approve an international agreement.

Under the Corker bill–the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act–both houses need only approve the deal with a majority vote, and the president can force the deal through with a veto sustained by just one-third of the members of either house.

That veto will no longer be necessary.

By preventing a vote, Democrats hope to prevent a scenario in which the Iran deal would be seen as the president’s sole initiative, which would suggest that it has less legitimacy.

McConnell said he would try for a vote again next week.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid passed the buck to Republicans, blaming the majority for failing to fulfill the promises of the Corker bill. “It’s their legislation, not ours.”

He also said that Republicans had been insufficiently contrite about the Iraq War.

“We can continue to re-litigate it,” said Reid, comparing the Iran deal to Obamacare, “but it’s going to have the same result.”

He said the Senate had other important challenges to tackle, such as the nation’s highways.

In his rebuttal, McConnell reminded Reid that he had voted for the Iraq War.

He reiterated that if Democrats were proud of the Iran deal, they should allow it to face a vote, and allow the President to veto it. “You guys would all be invited to the veto signing,” he said.

He closed by noting that the Democrats bore sole responsibility for the Iran deal.

“You own it.”