Iran Bill Passes Senate – House Shows Support for Diplomacy

BY JOHN ISAACS

May 7th proved to be the pivotal day for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which the Senate passed by a98-1 vote; Sen. Cotton (R- Ark.) was the lone dissenter and Sen. Boxer (D- Calif.) was absent.

The passing of the bill was preceded by a 93-6 cloture vote which ended debate on poison pill amendments by Sen. Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) and others.

In the legislative scuffle, pending amendments not considered germane were dropped; Sen. Blunt’s (R- Mo.) amendment renewing an annual report on Iran’s military power, Sen. Vitter’s (R-La.) amendment requiring a report on the inadequacies of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Sen. Cotton’s (R-Ark.) amendment restricting relief from sanctions until Iran agrees to a litany of measures that would end negotiations, and Sen. Rubio’s amendment (R-Fla.) requiring Iran to recognize Israel as a state were all dropped from the final bill.

Also today, a letter expressing support for the ongoing diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon was sent to President Obama. Organized by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.-09), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas-35), and Rep. David E. Price (N.C.-04) and signed by 150 Members of Congress (and eventually 151), the letter makes clear that diplomacy is the best way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

The 151 signers of the letter include 146 voting members of Congress, representing the theoretical one-third of the voting body necessary to withhold a presidential veto of legislation that could threaten the agreement’s eventual success.

While the letter does not commit signers to upholding a veto, the satisfaction expressed for the “significant progress” made by the current negotiations strongly reflects support for President Obama’s continued efforts to limit the ability of Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.

In all, it was a good day for diplomacy..