The Iran Nuclear Bill Has Finally Passed The Senate, But Don't Get Too Excited
On Thursday, the Senate finally passed the Iran nuclear bill, allowing Congress to review, and possibly reject, any nuclear deal the U.S. makes with Iran. Perhaps even more surprising than the fact that the bill passed, however, was the fact that it passed almost unanimously. Although the floor debate over the bill was drawn-out and messy, the bill passed 98-1. Tom Cotton, the Arkansas senator who penned the controversial letter to Iran leaders, cast the lone vote against the bill.
On the whole though, the passage of the bill marked a victory for lawmakers who have been pushing to have a say in the Obama administration’s talks with Iran. Now, Congress will have 30 days to review any nuclear deal with Iran, and even to reject it if they should so choose. However, if Congress approves of the deal, or if they fail to reach a consensus within a specified timeframe, then Obama can move forward without Congress.
Following months of tense negotiations, Congress can finally breathe a sigh of relief — but not for long. Although this particular battle may be over, the discussions surrounding a deal between the U.S. and five other countries with Iran is far from it. The bill will next travel to the House, where it will likely be passed, as it already has the support of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Moreover, while the bill passed Thursday offers a compromise to both Democrats and Republicans, there is still dissatisfaction on both sides over the matter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had to quell party calls for amendments to the bill during the floor debate in order to ensure Democrats and Obama would be supportive of the legislation.
During a floor speech on Wednesday, McConnell offered this insight on the murmurs of disapproval from some members of the Republican Party:
Many wish the bill was stronger. I don’t disagree with them, but this is a piece of legislation worthy of our support. It offers the best chance we have to provide the American people and the Congress they elect with power to weigh in on a vital issue.
On the other hand, some Democrats believe that Obama should not have yielded to pressure from Republicans to allow for a congressional review of the Iran deal. According to a recent report by The Washington Post, 150 House Democrats signed a letter to show their support for the trajectory of Obama’s ongoing negotiations with Iran. This means that, potentially, if the Republican-controlled Congress does decide to reject the Iran deal, there will likely be enough House Democrats to uphold Obama’s veto, and allow the deal to move forward.
In other words, don’t get too excited about today’s deal. It’s not all over just yet.
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