McConnell takes first step toward Iran vote
© Greg Nash
Senators on Wednesday took the first step toward a vote on the Iran nuclear deal.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.) received unanimous consent to take up a House-passed shell bill, which the Senate will use as its vehicle for a resolution of disapproval on the Iran nuclear deal. The chamber will turn to the legislation when it reconvenes in September.
 
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After the August recess, senators will have less than two weeks to vote on the Iran deal before the Sept. 17 deadline. 
 
Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (D-Nev.) backed McConnell's move on Iran, calling it a "a step forward." 
 
"The debate we're going to have in a matter of weeks, I want it to be … dignified," he said. 
 
A senior Democratic aide suggested that senators were reaching an agreement on proceeding to the Iran legislation on Sept. 8 "due to the intense time crunch" that month. The aide added that McConnell "cannot afford to be on any bill besides Iran when the Senate reconvenes."
 
The procedural step on Iran legislation comes amid growing support for the deal from Senate Democrats.
 
Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Trump officials say US efforts to deter Iran have worked Connecticut radio station rebrands itself 'Trump 103.3' MORE (D-Conn.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGraham says Bolton briefed him on Iran, tells Trump to 'stand firm' Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible MORE (D-Vt.) came out in support of agreement on Wednesday, with Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Senate passes bill to undo tax increase on Gold Star military families The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget MORE (D-Va.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list MORE (D-Calif.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonRepublicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment Rubio says hackers penetrated Florida elections systems MORE (D-Fla.) saying they would support the Iran deal on Tuesday. 
 
Still, many Senate Democrats are undecided, and opponents of the deal intend to pressure them over the recess.
 
So far no Senate Democrat has said publicly that they will vote against the deal. President Obama will need the support of at least 34 Senate Democrats to sustain the expected veto of the Iran bill.