Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSchumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks Bipartisan senators to hold hearing on 'toxic conservatorships' amid Britney Spears controversy GOP senators seek to block dishonorable discharges for unvaccinated troops 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 CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in Overnight Defense & National Security: War ends, but finger pointing continues MORE (D-Md.), as early as Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China MORE (R-Ky.) filed cloture to end debate on the legislation on Tuesday evening after Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonProgressive foreign policy should not be pro-autocracy Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit Poll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Milley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job 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 VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic 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."