Democrats again block legislation seeking to stop Iran nuclear deal

Julie Wiener

WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week via JTA) — For the third time, Senate Democrats blocked legislation aimed at scuttling the Iran nuclear deal.

On Thursday — the final day lawmakers could reject the agreement — deal opponents fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance a resolution of disapproval to a final passage vote. All but four Democrats — Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jewish lawmakers Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) — supported the deal.

This was the third attempt by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to reach cloture after the Senate took the first procedural vote on the disapproval measure last week. The 42 Democrats and Independents who filibustered the first go-around held to their positions.

After the votes, the Obama administration declared the congressional fight over the Iran nuclear deal over and looked forward to implementing the deal.

“Congressional review of the ‪#IranDeal is complete,” the White House said on its @TheIranDeal Twitter feed. “We can now take the next steps in making the world a safer place.

When the first two votes failed, McConnell introduced an amendment that would have linked the lifting of sanctions on Iran with the release of American prisoners held by the Islamic regime and public recognition by Tehran of Israel’s right to exist. A procedural vote on that measure also failed to reach the 60 vote threshold, ending in a 53 to 45 vote.

No more Senate votes are planned for this week, meaning that the president’s signature foreign policy initiative will stand.

In order to block the deal, both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have had to pass resolutions of disapproval by midnight on Thursday and overcome a promised presidential veto. The president secured enough votes to sustain a now unnecessary veto weeks ago.

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