Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will try to prevent the Senate from voting on President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Reid issued a statement on Saturday saying that Democrats would attempt to use the filibuster to prevent the Senate from holding even a symbolic vote on the issue, which would more than likely result in an embarrassing outcome for Democrats.
“I recently informed Senator McConnell that after a period of robust debate, Democrats would be happy to proceed straight to a final passage vote,” Reid said in the statement, suggesting “robust debate” was a coy way of saying that the debate will not end unless Republicans can muster 60 votes to do so.
Washington Examiner reported:
Under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act passed earlier this year, the Senate has the option of voting in favor of the deal, voting against it or taking no action at all. If the Senate were to vote against the deal, President Obama would still be able to veto the action. At least 67 votes would be required to override such a veto.
Presently, Democrats have at least 38 votes in favor of the deal. Just three — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., have said they would join Republicans in voting against it. If Republicans vote in unison, that means at least 57 senators would vote against the deal. While that would be short of the 67 required to override a veto, it would be enough to humiliate the administration.
At least three of the five remaining undecided Democrats will need to sign on in order to uphold a filibuster. Those include Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. Of those, Cantwell and Peters have said the least about the deal, and may be the most likely to sign on.
In his statement, Reid skillfully avoided talking about the deal or saying that it was his intention to prevent a vote, devoting just 274 words to the matter. He spent more than twice as many words — 569 — quoting GOP leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., who often spoke in defense of filibusters when Republicans were in the minority.
Democrat Sen. Cardin, who announced his opposition Friday, said the deal puts Iran too close to nuclear weapons. “The bottom line is that we know Iran was developing a nuclear weapon,” Cardin wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post. He also said that the international community could not respect “a country that actively foments regional instability, advocates for Israel’s destruction, kills the innocent and shouts ‘Death to America.'”
He said that he would propose legislation to “strengthen” the Review Act by reaffirming that the United States would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapon, and ensuring that Iran complied with the terms of the agreement. Yet in light of Reid’s planned filibuster, it is unlikely that his proposal will go far.