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 PaulOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Ky.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (R-S.C.), both candidates for president, didn't vote. Meanwhile, in a repeat of last week, Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? Battle lines drawn on Biden's infrastructure plan MORE (Md.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden dispatches Cabinet members to sell infrastructure plan On The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Miners union to back Biden on green energy if it retains jobs MORE (W.Va.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges MORE (N.J.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson pause seen as 'responsible' in poll | Women turning out more than men for COVID-19 vaccines 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party 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 CornynOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson pause seen as 'responsible' in poll | Women turning out more than men for COVID-19 vaccines Cornyn places hold on Biden Medicaid nominee Stacey Abrams: Parts of new Georgia voting law have racist intent 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 McConnellMcConnell vents over 'fake news' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Tensions rise as U.S. waits for Derek Chauvin verdict Trump looking 'beyond seriously' at 2024 run 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 CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 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 DurbinGOP eyes new strategy to derail Biden infrastructure plan White House defends 'aspirational' goal of 62,500 refugees Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' 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 CoatsExperts see 'unprecedented' increase in hackers targeting electric grid Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows 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.