Dems block Iran bill for second time
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Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal for a second time, standing firm behind the signature foreign policy initiative of President Obama’s second term.

The Senate voted 56-42 for the Iran resolution, short of the 60 votes needed to move forward.

Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN MORE (R-Ky.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (R-S.C.), both candidates for president, didn't vote. Meanwhile, in a repeat of last week, Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats hope to salvage Biden's agenda on Manchin's terms  Senators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Biden to huddle with Senate Democrats as voting bill on brink of defeat MORE (Md.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinLawmaker arrested amid voting rights protest says he'd 'do it again' No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week MORE (W.Va.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Overnight Defense & National Security — Differences remain between NATO, Russia Senate Democrats unveil bill sanctioning Russia over Ukraine MORE (N.J.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure Voting rights and Senate wrongs MORE (N.Y.) bucked Obama to oppose the Iran agreement.

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Republicans have until Thursday to pass legislation rejecting the nuclear deal, and while they have pledged to keep the focus on Iran up through the deadline, their next steps are unclear.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Senators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said that additional votes on Iran this week are "still being discussed."

"Whether there are other votes that we'll take, that hasn't been decided yet to my knowledge," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (R-Ky.) threatened to force a vote on an amendment that would require Iran to support Israel and release Americans currently held in the country before President Obama could lift sanctions. 

Regardless of additional votes, the nuclear deal is all but guaranteed to survive Congress and go into effect next month. Under the bargain, economic sanctions will be lifted on Iran in return for internationally enforced limits on its nuclear program.

McConnell (R-Ky.) slammed Democrats as willing to “win ugly” by saving the president from having to veto a resolution rejecting the deal.

The Senate could still try to take up a resolution of approval, which wouldn’t have the votes to pass. But, Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRepublicans, ideology, and demise of the state and local tax deduction Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, cast doubt on the maneuver, saying, “I don’t think that’s in the cards.”

Democrats slammed McConnell on Tuesday for forcing a repeat of procedural vote. They said the Republican leader is wasting the Senate’s time when lawmakers face a myriad of other deadlines, including funding the government by the end of the month.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinEffort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Manchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officials MORE (D-Ill.), the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, joked that the identical votes were a form of “debate prep” for the Senate’s four Republican presidential candidates.  

“I don’t know why we’re going through a replay of this, and there’s a suggestion that he may do another vote in another few days,” he added. “Is this part of a debate prep for some of the Republican senators running for president, that they come to the floor and make their speeches … and get to cast a vote before the CNN debate this week?”

Republicans defended holding a a second vote on the resolution of disapproval.

Asked why senators were voting again, Cornyn pointed to “accountability” on the Iran deal, which he said is “most serious national security vote” senators have taken since authorizing the Iraq War.

“This is very important,” he added. “The idea that they can they just brush this under the rug and move on from here, I think they underestimate the consequences of this both from a national security perspective and a political perspective.”

Republicans had hoped that two Democrats would flip their positions on blocking the Iran resolution after facing pressure back in their home states over the weekend. Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAn independent commission should review our National Defense Strategy Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (R-Ind.) made a plea from the Senate floor ahead of the vote for his Democratic colleagues to allow a resolution to move forward.