Senate Dems stonewall Iran resolution, handing victory to Obama
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Senate Democrats blocked a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal for a third time Thursday, sealing a major foreign policy victory for President Obama. 

Senators voted 56-42 against ending debate on the resolution of disapproval, falling short of the 60 votes needed on the procedural motion.

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Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Dem senator: Trump accepts Saudi denials because he is 'enamored' with dictators Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP MORE (Md.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump Jr. to campaign in West Virginia for Manchin challenger Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit on pre-existing conditions Credit union group to spend .8 million for vulnerable Dem, GOP incumbents MORE (W.Va.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezTrump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it Blame Senate, not FBI, for Kavanaugh travesty Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE (N.J.) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (N.Y.) for a third time bucked Obama and voted "no" on the deal.

GOP Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference MORE (Fla.) missed the vote, while Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProtesters confront Cruz at airport over Kavanaugh vote O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage MORE (Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Five things to know about 'MBS,' Saudi Arabia's crown prince MORE (S.C.) voted to end debate. All four took part in Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in California.

The vote came just hours ahead of the deadline for lawmakers to pass a resolution on the deal. With neither chamber of Congress expected to take another vote on Iran, the administration is poised to protect the agreement after months of intense lobbying aimed at solidifying Democratic support.

Opponents of the deal appeared to acknowledge defeat ahead of Thursday's vote. 

"This agreement is moving forward, we all know that," Cardin, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said, adding that lawmakers should now focus on next steps to strengthen the agreement. 

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Poll: GOP's Blackburn holds slim lead in Tennessee Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.), who spearheaded legislation that allows for Congress to debate and vote on the agreement, added that Republicans understand that "42 senators are causing a filibuster to take place and that we're not every going to be able to get to that vote on conscience.” 

Republicans argue that Democrats are blocking the resolution in an effort to protect Obama from having to use a veto, something he's only had to use four times while in office. 

Thursday's vote comes after Democrats previously blocked the resolution of disapproval from moving forward twice. Republicans had hoped that by staging repeat votes they could pressure at least two more Democrats to buck Obama and vote against the deal. 

But Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMajor overhauls needed to ensure a violent revolution remains fictional Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees GOP has always been aggressive in trying to weaponize the system of judicial nominations MORE (D-Nev.) suggested that Republicans were wasting precious floor time with only a handful of working days left ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

"Senator McConnell has decided to waste an entire week on something that has already been decided, twice," he said. "Despite the fact that the government will be shut down in a matter of days, the world's greatest deliberative body is doing a show vote." 

Reid previously offered to let the Senate move to a final vote on the Iran nuclear deal if Republicans would agree to setting a 60-vote threshold for final passage. 

While McConnell rejected the deal, it's gained at least one Republican supporter: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' for Mnuchin to go to Saudi conference MORE (R-Ariz.), who said he wants to take a final vote "and not just have endless cloture votes." 

"Take it," he said, referring to Reid's offer. "Let's get to a final vote. We've seen the end of this movie already." 

But McConnell appeared to be sticking to his strategy — even after his attempt to force a tough vote on Democrats failed. 

"Democrats have chosen to deny the Senate a final vote on the president's deal with Iran. They made their choice," he said. "Democrats ensured that this would be not just Obama's deal with Iran, but the Democratic Party's deal with Iran, too."
 
— This story was updated at 5:40 p.m.