McConnell sets up Iran vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday teed up a procedural vote on the Iran nuclear deal. 

The Republican leader filed cloture on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as the House-passed shell bill that the Senate is using for the agreement. 
 
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Under Senate rules that procedural tactic paves the way for a first vote on the Iran resolution Friday. McConnell, however, said Wednesday evening that his is "optimistic" a deal will be reached to have the vote on Thursday afternoon.
 
Democrats quickly pounced on McConnell's move.
 
“That was quick,” said Adam Jentleson, Reid's deputy chief of staff for communications, adding that McConnell is ending debate “after about a day and a half of Senate floor debate.”

The move comes amid GOP infighting over how to proceed with the Iran debate. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP resistance to campaign finance reforms shows disregard for US voters Bipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Texas), who is running for president, sought to pressure McConnell to delay the Iran vote, suggesting that the 60-day review period hadn't begun because the administration didn't hand over the "side deals" between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. 
 
But McConnell rejected that argument, telling reporters that "as I understand law, once Sept. 17 passes is it not the case that the president will take the view that he is free to go forward." 
 
In the House, Republican leadership scuttled an expected vote on a resolution of disapproval, suggesting that even if a similar measure passes the Senate it would be dead on arrival in the lower chamber.
 
Instead House lawmakers are expected to vote on a resolution of approval, as well as a proposal to block Obama from lifting sanctions. 
 
The procedural vote will also test a pledge by Senate Democrats to try to block the Iran resolution from initially passing the Senate. 
 
While 42 senators have backed the Iran agreement, a handful of key Senate Democrats have remained tightlipped about whether or not they will back a filibuster. 
 
Obama will need 41 of the 42 Senate supporters to vote "no" on the procedural vote if he wants to block the Iran resolution and avoid having to use a veto. 
 
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization Schumer in bind over fight to overhaul elections MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that Democrats still have "loose ends" as they seek to shore up support for a potential filibuster.