We already knew that Barack Obama won the fight over the Congressional disapproval of his deal with Iran. Last week, when Barbara Mikulski became the 34th vote in favor of the deal, that took the veto override off the table — even if that had been a long shot at best in the House already. In quick succession, seven more Democrats quickly followed suit, and now Obama has enough to filibuster a disapproval bill, according to the AP’s tally:
Three undecided senators announced their support for the deal in quick succession — bringing supporters to 41 votes. That’s enough to bottle up the disapproval resolution with a filibuster later this week.
The announcements came from Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Gary Peters of Michigan.
Supporters were cautiously optimistic the votes would allow them to block the disapproval resolution from passing in the Senate. They weren’t declaring victory because opponents of the deal are pushing for senators to allow a final vote on the disapproval resolution, leading to uncertainty about the outcome under the Senate’s complicated procedures.
That puts the filibuster in play, a dangerous weapon to use in this instance. Don’t forget that the American public opposes this deal on a 2:1 margin, making a diktat a risky strategy. Will Harry Reid resurrect his old role in blocking legislation from hitting Obama’s desk? Put it another way: are Reid and 40 other Democrats so shameless in boosting Obama and John Kerry that they won’t allow a floor vote even on a toothless bill of disapproval?
Prediction: Yes. A few of those Democrats may have qualms about cutting out any input from Congress on a momentous foreign agreement such as this one, but that probably won’t keep them from prioritizing their partisan calculations ahead of constitutional concerns. It didn’t keep them awake at night with Corker-Menendez, nor when Obama refused to submit the deal as a treaty and threatened to implement it through temporary executive waivers allowed in statutory sanctions.
I wrote last week that Mikulski’s vote would put ownership of Iran’s terror support squarely on the shoulders of Democrats. A filibuster on a floor vote would cement this to Obama, Reid, and Senate Democrats, and the party as a whole. Denying a vote to opponents will only anger constituents even more and remind voters which party shoves unpopular policies down their throats — and in this case sends more than one hundred billion dollars into the coffers of the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world without allowing so much as a debate in the Senate.
On that point, if Mitch McConnell were ever to strip the Senate of the last vestiges of its filibuster, this would be the moment for that “nuclear option.” At least that would allow the Senate to register disapproval of the nuclear gift Obama and John Kerry wrapped up for the Iranian mullahs and the IRGC.