Floor Action

Cornyn: ‘Good luck’ explaining Iran bill opposition

Greg Nash
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) speaks at CPAC in at the Gaylord in National Harbor, MD on March 7, 2014. 

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Wednesday slammed his colleagues who say they won’t support an Iran bill if it gets taken up before March 24.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that senators would debate a bill next week to require President Obama to submit any deal made with Iran to Congress.

{mosads}Negotiators face a March 24 deadline to reach a framework for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Ten senators vowed to oppose the bill if it is taken up before the deadline and didn’t go through the Foreign Relations Committee.

“There is no immediate or urgent need to circumvent the Committee process and we are disappointed that you’ve pursued this partisan course of action,” Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.),Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), wrote in a letter to McConnell.

Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, suggested that the senators will have a hard time explaining their opposition to their constituents.

“[Menendez] opposes voting on his own bill because of the Senate procedures and the process. I don’t know how you explain that back home. I couldn’t sell that to my constituents in Texas saying… it is the right ting to do, but oh, no, I’m going to vote against it because I disagree with the majority leader’s timing or the procedure,” he said from the Senate floor. “Good luck with explaining that to your constituents.”

Cornyn said his colleges should “calm down,” adding that he’s confused that the senators “are suggesting they might filibuster their own bill.”

“I sincerely hope that everyone here who has supported Israel and embraced a policy of blocking Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will calm down and work together and consider this important piece of legislation,” he said.

The renewed push to quickly pass Iran legislation follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech on Tuesday. Netanyahu warned lawmakers that Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran would start the countdown to a “nuclear nightmare.”

Tags Angus King Ben Cardin Bill Nelson Chris Coons Chuck Schumer Heidi Heitkamp Joe Donnelly John Cornyn Mitch McConnell Richard Blumenthal Robert Menendez Tim Kaine

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