VICTORY: Effort To Kill The Iran Deal Dies In The Senate

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President Obama and John Kerry

The two-month Republican-led effort to kill the Iranian nuclear accord in Congress failed Thursday, after 42 Democrats filibustered a procedural vote related to the nuclear deal.

“Today’s outcome was clear, decisive, and final,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “There’s now no doubt that the United States Congress will allow this deal to go forward.”

President Barack Obama lauded the vote as a “victory for diplomacy, for American national security and for the safety and security of the world.” He described the debate over the Iranian nuclear deal as the most consequential since the 2002 decision to invade Iraq.

“Going forward, we will turn to the critical work of implementing and verifying this deal so that Iran cannot pursue a nuclear weapon,” Obama said.

The procedural measure, which required 60 votes to pass, would have allowed the Senate to then cast a separate vote against the nuclear deal and rescind the president’s ability to waive some sanctions against Iran. That second vote, known as a resolution of disapproval, would have required only a simple majority to pass -- meaning that it could have succeeded even with little support from Democrats.

The minority Democratic Party pushed for a 60-vote threshold on the resolution of disapproval so that the resolution would not be able to move forward without broad bipartisan support. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejected the request, the Democrats moved to block the vote from occurring.

The decision to filibuster the procedural vote and block the actual vote on the nuclear deal was a tough choice for some Democrats who support the Iran nuclear agreement but object on principle to the idea of obstructing a vote on a major national security issue.

Shortly after announcing his support for the nuclear deal, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he wanted to see an up-or-down vote on the issue, suggesting that he would not join his party in filibustering the procedural vote.

His decision to join in the filibuster was likely influenced by McConnell’s unwillingness to establish a 60-vote threshold, rather than a simple majority, on the resolution of disapproval.

At the center of the dispute is a law drafted by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) earlier this year. Although Corker is now calling for a simple majority vote, two of the key architects of the legislation that provided Congress the opportunity to review the Iran deal say that the plan was always to require 60 votes to pass a resolution on the nuclear accord.

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