Democrats Block Iran Legislation a Third Time

Senate Democrats block legislation meant to kill the Iran nuclear deal, ensuring Congress won't disapprove it at all.

Ben Ariel ,


For the third time in a week, Democrats in the United States Senate on Thursday blocked legislation meant to kill the Iran nuclear deal, Reuters reported.

By a 56-42 vote, the Republican-majority Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the 100-member chamber.

A similar occurrence took place this past Tuesday, when Republicans also fell four votes short of the 60 needed to advance a bill of disapproval of the deal.

The first vote took place exactly a week ago, last Thursday, when senators voted 58-42 to end debate on a resolution of disapproval opposing the deal.

With no more Senate votes this week, noted Reuters, the result of the latest vote ensured Congress will not pass a resolution of disapproval that would have crippled the deal by eliminating President Barack Obama's ability to waive many sanctions.

A resolution would have had to pass both the Senate and House of Representatives by midnight Thursday, and survive Obama's veto, to be enacted.

The House, where Republicans also have a majority, never voted on the resolution, opting to pass three symbolic Iran-related measures that would not have affected the nuclear deal.

Four Democrats - Senators Ben Cardin, Joe Manchin, Robert Menendez and Charles Schumer - voted with the Republicans to advance the deal all three times.

Angry Republicans accused Democrats of denying the disapproval measure its due consideration in order to keep Obama from having to use his veto power, according to Reuters.

"It will go into effect without the American people having their say," said John Cornyn, the Senate's second-ranked Republican.

Democrats, meanwhile, accused Republicans of staging futile votes to embarrass the White House, while wasting time that could have been spent reaching a budget compromise to avoid a government shutdown on September 30.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to lure any more Democrats into backing the disapproval resolution after it first came up in the Senate a week ago.

After two failed votes, McConnell sought to raise the political stakes by adding an amendment that would have barred Obama from easing sanctions unless Iran released American prisoners and recognized Israel's right to exist.

With Democrats objecting to adding non-nuclear issues to consideration of the deal, that procedural vote was also blocked, 53-45.

Republicans are continuing to fight the deal, with moves being initiated in the Senate to sue Obama for not giving Congress access to classified side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in their review period, and demanding the review period be restarted as a result.

Those side deals stipulate among other things that Iran will inspect its own covert nuclear site of Parchin without international inspectors being allowed. At the site Iran has reportedly conducted nuclear detonator experiments.