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February 8, 2016

Posts in "Iran"

January 20, 2016

35 Years Later, Former Hostages, Lawmakers Cheer Restitution

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., speaks during the ceremony to sign H.R.203, the "Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act." in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Isakson led a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to secure restitution for former Iranian hostages. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 1979, Johnny Isakson was just one of many Americans tuning in to Ted Koppel’s late night reports on the status of Americans taken hostage in Iran — what became the 444 day saga.

“I was one of the people that was alive when ‘Nightline’ got started,” the Republican senator from Georgia recalled Wednesday. “I took an interest when it happened. Never knew that I would get to the United States Senate, and when I got there on the Foreign Relations Committee, I came to appreciate the work that had been done in the past by people who tried to make compensation happen.”

Full story

October 14, 2015

Explaining the Cracks in Ted Cruz’s State Department Blockade

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz’s State Department holds do not apply to career ambassadors. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I intend to block all nominees for the Department of State and hold any legislation that reauthorizes funds for the Department of State.”

That quote, from a July 16 letter from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to President Barack Obama sounded pretty straightforward. But, it turns out that career ambassadors are not State Department nominees, at least according to the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful.

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September 15, 2015

Senate GOP Plans Abortion Debate After More Iran Deal Votes

Cornyn anticipates anti-abortion legislation will follow votes on the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cornyn anticipates anti-abortion legislation will follow votes on the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators will have another chance to break a filibuster and disapprove of the Iran deal Tuesday evening — but there’s no expectation the dynamic will change.

Republicans expect to follow the next round of Iran votes with anti-abortion legislation, though Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said last week GOP senators had not yet decided which bills to bring up.

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September 11, 2015

John McCain Entertains ‘Nuclear Option’ to Reject Iran Deal (Video)

McCain is adamant that the defense policy bill should be bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCain isn’t ruling out the nuclear option. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain said Friday he would be willing to look at using the “nuclear option” to advance legislation against the Iran deal.

“I think it would set a dangerous precedent, but frankly … I’m in favor of exploring it. The seriousness of the impact of this agreement I think … argues for us to look at any possible option that we can,” the Arizona Republican said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “I’m not sure I want to change the rules of the Senate because we won’t always be in the majority.”

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Rubio to GOP Leaders: Use ‘Everything’ to Stop Iran Deal (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio is criticizing GOP leaders for their handling of the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio says Iran deal opponents should be prepared to “fall on the sword” to thwart the proposed nuclear agreement, and the Florida Republican is faulting leadership in his own party for not responding in ways that could do so.

“Quite frankly, you have the Republican leadership in some cases saying let’s treat this like any other bill. This is not just any other bill,” the Florida Republican and 2016 presidential candidate said Friday, one day after a debate-limiting cloture vote on a disapproval measure failed to achieve the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate.

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September 10, 2015

Democrats Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)

Coons is a Democrat from Delaware. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Coons will vote against cloture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 5:27 p.m. | The Senate debate on the Iran deal will continue through next week, after a cloture vote failed 58-42 Thursday.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, one of the reluctant supporters of the international nuclear agreement who Republicans had hoped would break on the cloture vote on a disapproval measure and support limiting debate, told CQ Roll Call just prior to the vote he would not do so.

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Ted Cruz Warns Banks Could Be Liable Over Iran Deal

Cruz wants Boehner and McConnell to warn banks of liability despite the Iran deal. Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz wants Boehner and McConnell to warn banks of liability despite the Iran deal. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz wants House and Senate leadership to tell U.S. banks they could be criminally liable if they release money to Iran, even after President Barack Obama relieves sanctions pursuant to the international nuclear agreement.

The Texas Republican, who is running for president, contends in a new letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that they have the authority to declare the Obama administration did not provide all the relevant documents related to the Iran deal, meaning the 60-day clock for disapproval never started. That’s a reference to agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran.

Full story

Democrats Take Note of Durbin’s Leadership on Iran Deal (Updated)

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 09: From left, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., make their way to a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing with senators on the Iran nuclear deal, September 9, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Moniz, Kerry and Durbin make their way to a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing Wednesday on the Iran nuclear deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:15 p.m. | Richard J. Durbin saw an opportunity and seized it.

With President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement and America’s standing with its allies both on the line, and with a void among Senate Democratic leadership, someone needed to step up to ensure the Iran nuclear agreement survived largely Republican opposition.

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Senate Locks-In Iran Deal Vote

Reid said Thursday that the cloture vote on Iran disapproval should be seen as the final vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid said Thursday the cloture vote on Iran disapproval should be seen as the final vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s reached an agreement to hold a key procedural vote on disapproving of the Iran deal Thursday afternoon.

After dueling objections over vote thresholds for a final passage vote on the resolution that would disapprove of the international agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear development, senators agreed to move up a debate-limiting cloture vote to 3:45 p.m.

Full story

September 8, 2015

Bob Corker: Expected to Need 60 Votes to Finish Iran Debate

iran deal

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hopes Democrats don’t thwart the Iran deal disapproval resolution with a filibuster, but he always knew it was possible.

“This debate should be focused on the substance of the president’s deal with Iran and whether this Congress believes we should allow the leading state sponsor of terrorism to have an industrialized nuclear weapons program with the approval of the United States,” the Tennessee Republican said in a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call. Full story

Where Committee Leaders Land on Iran Deal

Corker and Cardin are two of the relevant committee leaders opposed to the Iran deal. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Corker and Cardin are two of the relevant committee leaders opposed to the Iran deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker made an interesting point on Sept. 4: The two Democrats who have spent the most time studying the issues surrounding Iran are against the deal.

The Tennessee Republican was applauding ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal; the news of which broke at the end of last week. Corker also opposes the deal, like every other Senate Republican with the exception of Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn’t announced a position yet. Full story

Senate Democrats Can Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)

joe manchin

Despite Manchin, Iran deal disapproval faces a likely Senate blockade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:23 p.m. | The path to block disapproval of the Iran deal from ever getting out of the Senate appeared to be at hand Tuesday, just after Minority Leader Harry Reid made the case for why doing that should be perfectly acceptable.

But there’s an element of kabuki in all of this, because the votes are already there to sustain a veto by President Barack Obama. Full story

September 4, 2015

After the Iran Deal: Cardin, Bennet Look to Pass New Enforcement Bill

UNITED STATES - JULY 16: Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to the media following a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and other committee members to discuss the nuclear agreement with Iran on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 16, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cardin and Bennet are proposing a bill aimed at strengthening the Iran deal. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Democratic Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin and Michael Bennet announced opposite positions on the Iran deal Friday, they were united in their support for legislation they’ll introduce to strengthen it.

Cardin, ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, announced his opposition to the deal in an op-ed, while Bennet backed the deal in a statement to The Denver Post. But the deal itself is already a fait accompli given that the White House has already lined up enough support to sustain a veto of a disapproval resolution, and that has Cardin of Maryland and Bennet of Colorado looking ahead.

Cardin said the new legislation he’s writing that would include expedited consideration of sanctions against Iran if the country is found committing acts of terrorism against the U.S., or if its terrorist-supporting activity increases. (Bennet told The Denver Post he backs Cardin’s effort.) Full story

Iran Deal Filibuster Watch — Bennet’s Support Means 3 to Go

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., makes his way to the Senate Democrats' policy lunch on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bennet backed the Iran deal Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:22 p.m. | The White House added a 38th Senate Democratic backer of the Iran deal Friday — even as it lost the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

The support of Michael Bennet of Colorado brings the deal potentially within three votes of being filibustered in the Senate, and the new opposition by ranking Foreign Relations Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland stems what had been total momentum in favor of the deal. Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 12:04 p.m.

September 3, 2015

Iran Filibuster Watch — 4 Votes Away

Booker came out for the Iran deal Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Booker backed the Iran deal Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Will supporters of the Iran deal be able to filibuster a resolution of disapproval?

That’s been the question since Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., announced her support Wednesday, bringing the tally to 34 and giving supporters the votes needed to kill a veto override.

On Thursday, three more senators — Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; and Mark Warner, D-Va. — brought the count to 37, four short of the 41 votes needed to filibuster. Full story

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