APN president and CEO Debra DeLee commented today on the state of play of the Iran nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Congress:
"It is time for opponents of the deal – in the U.S. Congress, among some U.S. advocacy groups, and in Israel – to recognize that their dream of using a legislative vote of disapproval to block the Iran deal has come to naught, and to cease efforts to further drag out the battle over the deal with petty game-playing that serves only the purposes of political point scoring, at the expense of the vital national security interests of both the U.S. and Israel."
"We applaud the 42 senators and the more than 130 House members who have come out in support of the JCPOA. We recognize and respect the extraordinary seriousness with which each of these members of Congress undertook to carry out their responsibility to analyze this deal, to consider the views of constituents and experts, and to weigh the implications of their decision to support or oppose the JCPOA. We believe these members, having carefully studied the agreement and considered the arguments and expertise from all sides, came to the correct conclusion: that supporting the JCPOA is the best thing they can do for the interests of the U.S. and, in our view, for the interests of Israel.
"It is now indisputable that opponents of the Iran deal will be unable to prevent the agreement's implementation through the passage by Congress of a resolution of disapproval, as provided for under legislation passed earlier this year, led by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). Any such a resolution, if passed by Congress, would be vetoed by the President, and there it is clear that there opponents of the deal in Congress lack sufficient support to override that such a veto.
"With that in mind, Americans should be outraged at the spectacle going on today on Capitol Hill, in which some House and Senate opponents of the JCPOA are turning consideration of the deal into a tortuous political theater. With the outcome already known – Congress will not stop this deal from moving forward – this political theater serves only the cynical goals mainly partisan political point-scoring. It does so at the expense of U.S. leadership and credibility in the world, and at the expense further harm to vital U.S. interests around the globe, including the U.S.-Israel relationship.
"American voters should also recognize the insult to their intelligence that is implied by some members of Congress who continue to insist that the Obama Administration is withholding information about "side deals" – notwithstanding the fact that it has been made clear that no such "side deals" exist. The cynical and political opportunism behind this demand is self-evident, given that those members making this demand have already made clear – many before they even had a chance to read the JCPOA – that they would oppose it and do everything possible to derail it.
"Likewise, Americans should be indignant at the suggestion by Senate opponents of the JCPOA that supporters of the deal, in insisting on a 60-vote threshold for moving a Senate resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal forward, are violating the spirit of how the Senate deals with major and controversial legislation or are violating the spirit under which the Iran oversight legislation was adopted. The 60-vote threshold for major legislation has long been 'the way the Senate operates,' including under current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. With respect to the Iran deal oversight legislation, this week Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), an original cosponsor of the Corker bill – and one of only four Senate Democrats opposing the deal – stated that 'It was clear in talking to the architects of this legislation that they always anticipated there would be a 60-vote threshold for the passage of this resolution in the United States Senate.'
Back in April, both Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) made clear that a resolution of approval or disapproval under the Corker bill would require a 60-vote threshold. Neither Coons' nor Kaine's statement was contradicted at the time, or in the ensuing months, by Iran diplomacy opponents in the Senate, most likely because those opponents were confident that the 60-vote threshold would work to their advantage. And in March, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) – in his infamous anti-deal letter to Iran's leaders, co-signed by 46 Senate Republicans – made a point of explaining that 'because of procedural rules' a vote on the deal would require 'a three-fifths vote in the Senate,' as opposed to a simple majority."