Cruz: Iran legislation is a ‘bad bill’
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Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday slammed legislation that would allow Congress to review and vote on a final Iran nuclear deal, calling the proposal a "bad bill."

"I agree that it is of paramount important to give Congress its proper role in an international agreement of this magnitude," he said. "As the legislation stands, this legislation is unlikely to stop a bad Iran deal."

The Texas Republican didn't explicitly say that he would vote against the measure, expected to come up for a vote on Thursday.


But, he's previously said that without changes he would have a hard time voting for it, and added on Wednesday that "this issue is far too important to send a bad bill simply to send a message."

"This legislation at best will slow down slightly a terrible deal," he said. "Don't have a fig leaf vote."

The Senate is expected to pass the Iran legislation, spearheaded by Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 Sen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Baseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report MORE (D-Md.), as early as Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGreen New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault MORE (R-Ky.) filed cloture to end debate on the legislation on Tuesday evening after Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown 'Morning Joe' host quizzes Howard Schultz on price of a box of Cheerios Huawei charges escalate Trump fight with China MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Trump declares national emergency at border Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans MORE (R-Fla.), who is also running for president, tried to force a vote on amendment that would require Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist as part of a final deal on Iran's nuclear program.

McConnell's move blocks votes on more than 60 Republican amendments while all but guaranteeing that the Iran legislation will pass. It is also goes against his pledge that a Republican-led Senate would include an open amendment process on legislation being considered.

Cruz's amendment to bolster congressional review of a final deal was one of the amendments not brought up for a vote. But Cruz suggested that Senate Democrats, not McConnell, were to blame for the lack of votes.

"It's disappointing to see Democratic senators putting partisan politics above our national security," the Texas Republican said. "The bill as drafted will provide some political cover to Senate Democrats to say they have voted to provide strict scrutiny and congressional approval of an Iran dill."

Cruz’s bid for a vote on his amendment was blocked by Cardin, who said that the amendment will either kill the Iran legislation or kill the ongoing negotiations with Iran.

The 2016 candidate accused Democrats of being willing to "give up" their authority to ratify international agreements, adding that he is "quite confident" that would not be the case if a Republican was president.

Cruz isn't alone in his criticism. Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (R-La.) threatened to block a manager’s amendment to the Iran legislation, after Cardin didn't allow him to modify an amendment he had previously submitted. 

Vitter's amendment would require an assessment of flaws in international monitoring of Iran's nuclear program.

"I want a vote on my amendment. I want votes on other significant amendments, and if this is just a game to come to some unanimous consent agreement, some manager's package which they bless, they can stop those discussions right now," Vitter said. "I'm going to object."

Cardin and Corker are hoping to reach an agreement on a manager's package. Corker told reporters on Tuesday evening that the package wouldn't include anything "controversial."

But Corker and Cardin would need unanimous consent from all senators to move forward with the amendment deal.

Cardin said the Louisiana Republican's attempt to modify his amendment would "interfere with the maximum number of amendments being considered."

Vitter fired back that the Maryland Democrat's response was "a bunch of bull."

"My request isn't going to interfere with anything," he said. "Let's be upfront about what's going on here. It's not an open amendment process. ... Everybody knows that we're being blocked by the managers of this bill."