A leftover from yesterday. Riddle me this: If he agrees with Cruz et al. that Obama hasn’t complied with the Corker bill by submitting the secret side deals with Iran to Congress, why are he and McConnell proceeding with any votes this week? Why not stand on that point? E.g., “The Corker bill says Congress has 60 days to vote once the president submits the full agreement. He hasn’t, so we won’t.” Force that issue before the public. Voting on the deal anyway when you’re claiming that objection is like running a play in football and then asking for replay review of the play before that. The game’s supposed to stop while the challenge is heard.
Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he might sue President Barack Obama again…
“If you read the provisions in [the congressional review law], it’s pretty clear that the president has not complied,” Boehner said Thursday during his weekly news conference. “Because it makes clear that any side agreements and any other type of an agreement — including those that do not directly involve us — must be turned over as part of it. I do not believe that he’s complied.”
Skip to 2:30 of the clip below and you’ll see that a reporter challenges him with the same point I made. Why vote on anything if you think Obama hasn’t complied? If I understand Boehner’s answer, he says the Corker bill requires Congress to hold a vote on whether to disapprove of the Iran deal. Because Obama hasn’t submitted the side deals, the House will not vote on whether to disapprove until O fulfills his obligations. The Corker process is now frozen as far as the House is concerned. However, while they wait for Obama to submit the side deals and start the Corker clock, they’re going to vote on whether they should approve (not disapprove) the deal because they want to force House Democrats to take some sort of formal stance on whether they support this widely unpopular Iran-deal fiasco. If you find this approve/disapprove parsing too cute by half, you’re not alone, but I think it’s just the GOP trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want Democrats to take a tough vote on an unpopular bill but they also want to preserve their claim that Obama hasn’t complied with the Corker process in case they decide to sue him. That’s what today’s House vote on approving the deal is all about.
Guy Benson has a better idea. If McConnell wants to make Democrats squirm over the Iran deal, why not shut down all Senate business until Reid at least agrees to end his filibuster and agree to an up or down vote? The worst that can happen for them is that Obama’s forced to veto it, a minor political victory for the GOP amid a much larger political victory for Democrats. If having a majority in the Senate and House can’t even guarantee that, what’s the point of having a majority at all?
Republicans must not simply shrug and give up. They should instead seek to replicate the successful strategy they employed earlier this year in the face of another unconscionable filibuster. That Democratic maneuver ran afoul of clear public opinion, and exposed quite a few filibuster-enablers as rank hypocrites. I’m referring to the hardball game Mitch McConnell played on the anti-human trafficking legislation, which Democrats astoundingly filibustered in an attempt to add unprecedented abortion-funding language to the bill. This move was grossly out-of-step with established precedent, and every excuse Reid and friends trotted out to justify their obstructionism was shown to be utterly dishonest. The GOP majority effectively shut down all Senate business until Democrats broke — which they did. Public opinion was against them, and the optics of filibustering a bill designed to help victims of sex trafficking were horrific. Similarly, impeding a simple vote on the controversial Iran deal is politically risky. Republicans hold a Senate majority, several prominent Democrats are with them, public opinion is heavily on their side, and they occupy the moral high ground. Use it. Shame Democrats for this action. Force them to vote to sustain this filibuster over and over again. Make them explain on television why their chamber has ground to a complete halt, and why they don’t believe Congress should have any say on the Iran deal. Shine a white, hot spotlight on this, day after day. Make Hillary Clinton defend them, too.
Why not? It’d be nice to have an old-fashioned Senate brawl on Iran before the inevitable Boehner/McConnell cave on whether to shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood. Not only that, says Rick Wilson, but showing a little mettle on Iran will take some of the anti-establishment wind out of Trump’s sails. If the GOP establishment wants to show undecided primary voters that they’re not entirely (albeit mostly) committed to surrender at every turn, now would be a fine time to prove it. What do they have to lose?
Update: And here’s the “approval” vote now.
House votes 269-162 with one Present against approving the Iran nuclear deal pic.twitter.com/cluWKTroPQ
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 11, 2015