Tennessee [mc_name name=’Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001071′ ] has been working hand-in-glove with Maryland Senator Ben Cardin to shepherd a disastrous bill approving Obama’s Iran negotiations through the Senate. It is disastrous in two respects. First and foremost, Corker’s bill essentially gives Obama a way to work around the US Constitution. Instead of this agreement being presented to the Senate for approval… and as what is at stake here is giving Iran the ability to wage nuclear war, the Senate has at least a passing interest in the matter… it places the Senate of giving a rubberstamp approval to the agreement unless 67 votes can be mustered against it. Given the utterly servile nature of Congressional Democrats when it comes to confronting Obama (or Hillary Clinton, for that matter), the odds of that happening approach zero. Secondly, the administration has lied, continuously an repeatedly, to Congress about what this agreement contains. Public statements by the Iranians, who are, oddly enough, more credible than our own President indicate the deal is an abject surrender. It is such a surrender than even France is having trouble accepting it.
Sens. [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] used a hardball procedural tactic on Thursday to force contentious votes on a bill allowing congressional review of a nuclear deal with Iran, a move that jeopardizes the measure’s future.
After being blocked by Democrats for several days, Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rubio (R-Fla.) used a parliamentary procedure to attempt to compel votes on amendments that would make Iran relinquish its nuclear facilities (Ed note, this is actually false, Cotton’s amendment allows for the inspection of suspicious sites) before getting economic sanctions relief and require that Iran recognize Israel’s statehood as a condition of any nuclear deal.
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The move blindsided Democrats who had been working with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to pass the bipartisan bill. Afterwards, Corker offered a grim assessment of the state of play.
“We have been working very constructively with the other side of the aisle to bring up both very controversial amendments and amendments that will make the bill much stronger,” Corker told reporters. “With the actions that just occurred on the floor that may have changed the dynamic significantly.”
Cotton and Rubio’s maneuver, made under the guidance of top conservative policy aides, blew up a tentative agreement to vote on several other amendments on Thursday, likely including one from [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (R-Texas) that would require Congress affirmatively vote for any nuclear deal with Iran. But that series was unlikely to include Cotton and Rubio’s proposals and a frustrated Cotton instead forced the chamber to consider their proposals.
Not only does the tactic unleashed by Rubio and Cotton require a vote on these two amendments, it only requires a majority to pass the amendment.
Indeed, Cardin referred to these two amendments as “poison pills.” Astonishing. Requiring a nation we are assisting in developing a nuclear arsenal to recognize the right of Israel to exist should be a good thing. And does anyone think it is strange that requiring Iran to allow inspectors to check suspicious sites is a “poison pill”?
Cotton disputed the idea that the amendments he sought votes on would imperil the underlying bill, even though Cardin and others have argued they are the type of amendments that could shatter a fragile agreement with the White House and lead to the return of a presidential veto threat.
“Let’s have a talk about poison pill amendments. I would say these are not poison pills, these are vitamin pills. They’re designed to strengthen this legislation and strengthen the U.S. negotiating position,” Cotton said. “Who could object that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state? And that Iran should not be allowed a nuclear weapon if they won’t recognize that right?”
As my colleague, Leon Wolf, pointed out earlier, Corker is an idiot. He has made a fetish of creating this dog’s-breakfast of terrible policy and wishful thinking. In fact, Corker’s focus on process will, if carried to fruition, guarantee a war with a nuclear armed Iran, a war the GOP helped foment but acquiescing to Obama’s utterly disreputable deal.
The best solution for the nation, the Middle East, and the world is for the GOP send a strong bill to Obama’s desk and dare him to veto it. Moreover, they should dare the Democrats to not help override his veto and tie that tin can to their collective tails and chase them down the street throughout 2016.