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House conservatives could change the Iran deal vote

House conservatives could change the Iran deal vote

A new tactic?

It started yesterday, when conservative Republicans in the House expressed strong disagreement with the GOP leadership over whether to proceed with the vote of disapproval on the Iran deal. The conservative wing aimed to force Obama to first live up to the terms of Corker-Menendez and disclose the still-secret side deals with Iran that (which are an enormously important part of the big picture.) They claimed that the clock on the Congressional review period would not start until Obama complied, and thus the disapproval vote should be delayed.

The movement had the support of Ted Cruz in the Senate, and many conservatives in the House (Roskam of Illinois; Pompeo of Kansas and the rest of the House Freedom Caucus). The House doesn’t have a cloture or filibuster rule, so it is much easier to bring something to a vote there over minority Democratic opposition than it is in the Senate.

Later, it was leaked that Boehner had given in to House conservatives on this issue, agreeing to postpone the vote and substituting a series of votes on three other resolutions in the House:

The first would declare that President Obama violated Corker-Cardin by failing to provide the side deals to Congress. The second will bar President Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran. The third will be a resolution outside of Corker-Cardin to “approve” the Iran deal that all Republicans will vote no on. Most Democrats will vote yes.

Of course, even if these three votes happen, when it’s actually time for the Senate to vote, anything that’s brought up for consideration there—whether it be these three, or the original vote of disapproval—could and probably would be filibustered successfully by the Democrats, or vetoed by Obama if any of it does manage to get far enough for a vote and passage. Harry Reid’s plan is to block any such vote on the Iran deal by denying cloture with a minority vote of at least 41, a threshhold he seems to have already attained.

So far, the Senate GOP is not in step with the House Republicans:

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker argued Wednesday that delaying the vote as some House Republicans want is currently not the best strategy.

“As I understand the law … we have to act before Sept, 17, which is next week, or the deal does forward,” McConnell said.

They said that if Congress doesn’t act by Sept. 17, the sanctions will be lifted and the deal will be approved.

As of last evening, McConnell:

…[had] filed cloture on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as the House-passed shell bill that the Senate is using for the agreement…

Sen. Ted Cruz…sought to pressure McConnell to delay the Iran vote, suggesting that the 60-day review period hadn’t begun because the administration didn’t hand over the “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But McConnell rejected that argument…

Will the GOP in both legislative branches ultimately get in line with each other after that cloture attempt in the Senate fails (as is likely) to gain the requisite 60 votes? At least the House proposal would have the advantage of putting Democratic members of Congress on record as having supported Obama’s Iran deal with a “yes” vote, because the House would be forcing them to vote to affirmatively approve the Iran deal rather than merely to vote “nay” to a bill to disapprove it.

Voting “yes” is something most Democrats would probably prefer not to have to do. A “yes” vote for the deal is somewhat more difficult to deny, and more unequivocally supportive, than a “no” vote on a bill to disapprove the deal would be. What’s more, there’s even an outside chance that forcing Democrats into a “yes” vote might cause some to hesitate to vote for the deal, although I happen to think the vast majority will come through for Obama and Party in the end.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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It’s a shot. A brilliant, tenuous gambit. And one that, incredibly, seems to put McConnell in the key role of Obama’s Mad Deal’s most essential player.

He COULD, of course, “go nuclear”. Coupled with the sane people in the Congress, they COULD kill this horrific “deal”.

Why is it really even a question for him?

    Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | September 10, 2015 at 7:51 am

    You said it, yourself: “tenuous.”

      I wish you would explain your understanding of “tenuous”.

      What do you see happening if republicans try and fail? What have they got to lose, what do we have to lose, what does the middle east have to lose and the world have to lose?

      If you say there will be war with out “the deal” Iran say they will destroy our allies Israel with-in 25 years. So possible war now or a war with-in 25 years after Iran has time to prepare?

      If you advance the false comfort by saying the present leaders of Iran will be dead and gone in a few more years that reminds me of Obama telling us we have nothing to worry about since ISIS is only a JV team.

    Because McConnell wants Obama to win and America to lose. After the last few years, why is this even a question for you?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | September 10, 2015 at 9:54 am

    McConnell & Boehner are pathologically fearful of political blowback on anything they might try on any issue, so fearful it has effectively paralyzed them. The only fight they’ll aggressively undertake is one that would be an obvious win with no risk of blowback – and that just doesn’t exist. But boy, oh boy, if it ever does arise, stand back and watch these two sizzle.

    The omnipresent politispeak formula from the GOPe:

    “Well, if we go ahead and do X we’ll be blamed for Y and we can’t risk that with elections coming.”

    The political philosophy/strategy of the GOPe:

    1. Risk nothing.

    2. Risk nothing.

    3. Talk tough, but appease and cave because of risk of blowback. See above.

    4. Hope to control all three branches by winning WH.

    5. Ignore fact they did nothing with it last time they had all three.

    6. Destroy Trump.

    7. Destroy any real or perceived conservative candidate.

    8. Appease then screw conservative base where possible.

    9. Whine

    10. Blame others, especially voters who’ve have the gall not to vote for them, because when a GOPe candidate fails it’s the voters’ fault, never the candidate’s, never the party’s.

      Why go out on a limb with such an elaborate construct when the evidence is so clear that McConnell & Boehner are simply in league with what ever forces are at the bottom of this.

      McConnell & Boehner are on the other side. Explains it better than anything else.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Barry. | September 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        They are on a different side, alright, but not the other side, if that refers to Dems, libs, etc. They are on their own side, incumbentus selfprotectus. It’s win if you can do so without risk, otherwise take your beatings as the cost of keeping your mouth in the DC feeding trough caled money and power. Concerns of the constituency are well known to them, but too bothersome to deal with, too risky. The GOP, like any political party, wants empty-headed blind followers, cheerleaders, and choir members. So much easier to manage and fool. Look at all the pre-2014 midterm GOP promises which they didn’t even bother to try to fulfill once the election was won. In fact, they often went the other way, funding Obama crap policies left and right.

          “In fact, they often went the other way, funding Obama crap policies left and right.”

          Yes, as I said, they are on the other side.

          What would they do differently if they are?

    Senator “Surrender” wouldn’t dream of trying to damage the Iran Nuclear deal. Nor would he wield the power of his office to force a vote that is not subject to filibuster. He’s stuck in the past where he thinks that if the deal goes bad, the Republicans will do better in the next election, or worse, that he can horse-trade this vote for a vote on something else.

    McConnell is a moron. Why his colleagues have not called for his head on a platter continuously baffles me. Oh, wait, they’re GOPe stooges who would rather be in the minority because they’re afraid of true leadership.

    McConnell SHOULD be saying Corker-Cardin was violated, the President waited too long. Too bad, so sad.

    But, McConnell has bought the Marxist argument that “well, if we don’t approve this, the sanctions will fall apart from other countries, our allies will start trading with Iran and Iran will go nuclear anyway.”

    He’s making an assumption that Iran will comply. They’ve shown time and again that they will spit in our face as soon as they have their money in their pocket.

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | September 11, 2015 at 1:56 am

    No, he couldn’t kill it. Even going nuclear won’t get him to the 2/3 needed to override a veto. And without that there is simply no way to prevent 0bama from waiving the sanctions and implementing the deal.

“Sen. Ted Cruz…sought to pressure McConnell to delay the Iran vote, suggesting that the 60-day review period hadn’t begun because the administration didn’t hand over the ‘side deals’ between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“But McConnell rejected that argument…”

Well, of course he did. To accept the argument would mean he opposed Obama’s agenda.

So when Reid controlled the Senate, he wrongly (but effectively) used the Reconciliation Rule to pass Obamacare (via approving the Reconciliation Act portion of the legislation) with only 51 votes. And McConnell is now worried Reid might hold up fighting the Iran deal by forcing the GOP to get 60 votes together to proceed on a vote? Dems played dirty and crammed Obamacare on us, and the GOPe won’t return the favor in trying to block one of the greatest threats to global peace today? It seems obvious…again…that the GOPe is only willing to fight Obama with words, not deeds.

If the GOPe proceeds on the Iran deal without requiring Obama to live up to his obligations, the GOPe will be as responsible for any deaths that result as Dems that support Obama.

    “If the GOPe proceeds on the Iran deal without requiring Obama to live up to his obligations, the GOPe will be as responsible for any deaths that result as Dems that support Obama.”

    Yes. The Reconciliation Rule can be used whenever the R leaders decide to do so. They are, at best, pussies, more likely, simply on the other side.

      Ragspierre in reply to Barry. | September 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Human nature would auger for “just innervated by risk aversion”…or “pussies”. Not that the other couldn’t be possible, but you’d have to have some proof. BESIDES conduct that can be ascribed to being gutless poltroons.

        Subotai Bahadur in reply to Ragspierre. | September 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Well, there is the classic rule:

        Once is chance.
        Twice is coincidence.
        Three times is enemy action.

        I think we are into exponential notation at this point.


        “Not that the other couldn’t be possible, but you’d have to have some proof.”

        As I replied to Henry up above, “What would they do differently if they are?” (on the other side).

        Sometimes it’s just simple…

          Ragspierre in reply to Barry. | September 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

          A fair example of INDUCTIVE reasoning. Which is often flawed, taken by itself (i.e., without supporting evidence of the conclusion).

          Barry in reply to Barry. | September 10, 2015 at 10:17 pm

          “Which is often flawed…”

          Yes, of course. And sometimes not. When all the available evidence points to the same conclusion, it’s damn good inductive reasoning.


      Milhouse in reply to Barry. | September 11, 2015 at 1:59 am

      No, it can’t. There has to be something to reconcile. It has to be a budget measure. Reconciliation is simply not available here. And even if it were available it wouldn’t matter, because 0bama would veto it and the veto would survive. So there’s no point in using extraordinary measures even if they were available, which they’re not.

Why didn’t McConnell insist that the Constitution be followed as certainly, this “agreement” certainly should rise to that of a treaty, yes?

“The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….


    Henry Hawkins in reply to GrumpyOne. | September 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    “Speak not of law, for the Lightbringer is amongst us, and it is His will that rules all.”

    Milhouse in reply to GrumpyOne. | September 11, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Because the president doesn’t need it to be a treaty, and hasn’t even tried to make it one, so not consenting to it becoming one wouldn’t change anything. It’s like saying you won’t marry someone who not only hasn’t asked you, but has already told you he has no intention of ever asking you.

Bobby Jindal recommends the use of the Nuclear Option. IF EVER there has been a time for Repubs to use it, now is that time. Harry Reid used it. Why not us?????

    Milhouse in reply to NeoConScum. | September 13, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Because there would be no point. It would accomplish nothing. If they’re going to go nuclear and abolish the filibuster forever, it will have to be over an issue worth fighting for. Not over a vote that the Republicans simply cannot win.

Sammy Finkelman | September 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm

You still would need 67 Senators to actually accomplkish anything.