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This week the Senate is dealing with S. Con. Res. 11. "An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025." This annual exercise is nicknamed a “vote-a-rama,” with members permitted to offer as many amendments as they like on pretty much any topic, so long as they append the magic words at the end of every amendment: “provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.”
In past years, we have not seen a lot of Middle East provisions offered to the annual budget resolution – possibly because Senators prefer to attach Middle East-related amendments to binding, must-pass legislation like the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, or the Defense Authorization bill; or because there were stricter rules governing amendments; or just maybe because at no time in recent memory has the Senate (or some of its members) behaved in such a reckless and at times nutty-as-a squirrel-turd manner as is the case today.
In this context, it comes as no surprise to see lots of Middle East-related amendments being offered to S. Con. Res. 11. Below is a summary of these amendments – it will be updated if more are submitted. It should be kept in mind that some/most/all of these may never be voted on and that in any case, they are non-binding; however, they are important nonetheless as statements of congressional intent and as efforts to corner members into taking a more consequential vote on binding legislation later.
Yesterday saw the publication of an open letter, signed by 47 Republican Senators and addressed to the leaders of Iran, with a simple message: any agreement you make with U.S. President Barack Obama over your nuclear program will not be worth the paper it’s written on; we can block it now or kill it once Obama is out of office. Bloomberg journalist Josh Rogin, who broke the story, stated unequivocally that the letter is meant “to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal.” The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Cotton (R-AR), who has long made clear his opposition to any Iran negotiations; signers include including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
For detailed information on each of these bogus arguments against the current Iran diplomacy, go HERE
Additional sanctions and credible threats of military action can secure a better deal with Iran than current negotiations.
Prepare for Netanyahu’s Washington Speeches:
Listen for these 11 Bogus Arguments against an Iran Deal
On March 3rd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress, where he is expected to make the case against a nuclear deal with Iran, at least a deal that could result from the current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, and the United Kingdom). During this visit to Washington, Netanyahu will make other speeches and find other occasions to speak to the media in which he will no doubt, make the same case. In anticipation of these speeches and statements, it is important to "un-pack" and debunk the bogus arguments against an Iran deal that Netanyahu is most likely to be making. The eleven most prominent of those arguments are examined here. The full document can be printed/downloaded here.