The Senate GOP and Iran
Josh Rogin reports on the Senate GOP’s plans to try to force Reid to hold a vote on the new sanctions bill:
The Republican Senate caucus is planning to use every parliamentary trick in the book to push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a floor vote on a new Iran sanctions bill that the Obama administration strenuously opposes.
Obama has repeatedly said that he would veto the bill, so it’s seem unlikely that that the bill would ever become law, which makes the Republican demand to hold a vote a bit strange. As things stand now, all but two Republicans have declared their support for the bill, so it’s not as if no one knows their position. If Obama won’t sign the bill and has clearly told members of Congress not to pass it, voting on it would seem perverse if the bill’s supporters were telling the truth about their desire to strengthen the U.S. position.
It might be interesting to find out how many of the Democrats that claim to support the bill would actually vote for it, but it would be foolish to jeopardize ongoing negotiations just to find out. If the bill came to a vote now, it would in all likelihood pass, and that by itself might be enough to derail the negotiations. Presumably Reid won’t yield to Senate Republicans’ demands before the next recess, but the Senate GOP (with a couple notable exceptions) seems very eager to make sure that everyone knows just how dedicated they are to wrecking diplomacy with Iran. That’s potentially a serious problem down the road, since there is a fair chance that they will take control of the chamber next year, and at that point they’ll be free to pass any number of mischievous bills.