GOP Attempts to Kill Iran Legislation Killed by... GOP Leaders

Currently, U.S. elected officials from both political parties are working on legislation that would provide an appropriate level of Congressional oversight over an agreement preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The bipartisan version of the Corker-Menendez bill obtained the unanimous support of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, as NJDC stated several weeks ago, "allows the framework reached by our diplomatic team to stay on track to keep Israel and the Middle East safe while preventing a nuclear-armed Iran." Unfortunately, Republican officials, including presidential candidate Marco Rubio, have attempted to insert poison pill amendments in an effort to kill the legislation - an act that would only cause harm to Israel and the entire region. These efforts, as Politico noted today, are swiftly being rejected - by Rubio's own party.

Politico reporter Burgess Everett writes:

Republican leaders are preparing to clamp down on Sen. Tom Cotton’s efforts to derail a bipartisan compromise on legislation giving Congress review power over a nuclear deal with Iran, clearing the way for it to be passed this week.

The Senate is set to resume work Monday on the long-considered bill, but lawmakers in both parties agree debate on the measure has run its course, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is widely expected to wrap up consideration of the time-sensitive bill and free it from parliamentary gridlock...

In a bid to pressure President Barack Obama to take a tougher negotiating line with Tehran, Cotton (R-Ark.) made a surprise move Thursday to try and force a vote on his amendment, which would require Iran to disclose the history of its nuclear program and shutter all its nuclear facilities, and a proposal from Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio that would require Tehran to recognize Israel’s statehood...

But the provisions would disrupt the administration’s ongoing talks with Tehran and revive Obama’s veto threat against the bipartisan bill. And Cotton made his move even though Democrats were considering votes on other contentious amendments, like one from presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) requiring that a nuclear deal with Iran be approved by Congress. Lawmakers were even beginning to discuss how to accommodate Rubio’s demands for a vote on the Israel provision.

Rather than securing those votes, Cotton’s tactics drove Democrats away from negotiating over any more GOP amendments that would draw opposition from the White House. To preserve the bipartisan coalition backing the bill, GOP leaders are expected to shut off debate and the chance to amend the bill, instead of allowing a vote on proposals dubbed “poison pills” by Democrats and some Republicans.

The bipartisan legislation that Sen. Rubio seems so committed to destroying has been widely hailed across the spectrum. It remains to be seen if Sens. Rubio and Cotton will choose to place their own ambitions ahead of the safety and security of the state of Israel.