The Cable

Try, Try Again: Senate GOP Still Seeking to Scuttle Iran Deal

Senate Republicans aim to vote on a resolution disapproving of the nuclear deal with Iran.

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When it comes to Republicans and the Iran nuclear deal, if at first they don’t manage to reject it, they’ll try again, even if the outcome is all but guaranteed to fall in President Barack Obama’s favor.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, is expected to call a vote on a resolution disapproving of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. He’ll do so despite predictions from the Senate minority leader, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, that Democrats will filibuster the vote. Reid said it would be “dumb” if the 42 members of his party, who blocked the vote on the resolution last week, suddenly changed their minds.

McConnell’s move is shaping up to be pure political theater. The deal between Iran and six world powers is set to be implemented on Oct. 19. And it brings to mind multiple attempts by the Republicans to repeal Obamacare; the Senate failed to do so in July, and the House has voted to roll back the health-care program more than 50 times. Republicans are using the Iran vote, or lack thereof, to continue to slam the pact, which lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for tighter controls on Tehran’s nuclear program.

“My hope is that Senate Democrats will hear from their constituents and allow an up-or-down vote on President Obama’s Iran deal this week,” Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said Monday. “An issue of this magnitude deserves a vote in the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, used a Monday op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail to call the Democratic block of the vote on the resolution “extremely disappointing.”

“This debate is not over yet. A better deal is possible, and the American people should accept nothing less,” Capito wrote.

Last week, the House rejected the Iran deal in a largely partisan vote, with 269 voting against it and 162 voting for it. Twenty five House Democrats broke with the president and voted against his signature nuclear accord. But such an outcome is a non-starter in the Senate, where 58 votes against the deal aren’t enough to overcome the Democratic filibuster.

Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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