- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused President Obama and his Democratic allies Tuesday of opting to “win ugly” on the nuclear deal with Iran by denying the American people an up-down vote on the pact.

The Senate is poised to vote late Tuesday on whether to move ahead on a resolution to reject the deal struck by the U.S., Iran and five leading nations to thwart the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for billions in sanctions relief.

It’s effectively a repeat of a similar vote the Senate took last week, in which the deal’s opponents fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed to an up-down vote that would allow the GOP and several Democrats to reject the pact and force Mr. Obama to use his veto.

Senate Democrats are expected to filibuster once again Tuesday to keep Mr. Obama’s deal intact, infuriating majority Republicans who cannot overcome the procedural hurdles baked into Senate rules.

Kicking off Tuesday’s session, Mr. McConnell accused Democrats of aligning themselves with Mr. Obama to block a simple vote on of the “most consequential foreign policy issues of our time.”

“If Democrats share the President’s determination to ‘win ugly’ on this important issue, then they have sufficient numbers to do that,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “But I would remind my colleagues of something. This debate should not be about a president who will leave office in 16 months. It should be about where our country will be in 16 years.”

Last week, the House voted to extend American sanctions on Iran until January and went on record rejecting the deal, with zero Republican supporting the pact and 25 Democrats rejecting it.

The votes were largely symbolic, as Senate Democrats already had voted, 58-42, to turn back Mr. McConnell’s initial bid to move ahead with the disapproval resolution.

The deal requires Iran to shut down some facilities and allow monitoring of its nuclear progress, and in exchange Iran gets access to tens of billions of dollars of its money that’s been frozen in international banks, can continue to enrich uranium at levels below that needed to create a bomb, and will see crippling economic sanctions removed.

Under the terms Congress and Mr. Obama agreed to earlier this year, the president was required to submit the deal to Capitol Hill for approval, and Congress had 60 days to act or else the president could move ahead.

The White House says that time runs out Thursday, although the House voted last week to assert that the clock hasn’t actually begun because the White House didn’t submit all of the documents.

Speaker John A. Boehner has said “all options are on the table” to stop or stall the deal, from attaching an Iran measure to a must-pass spending bill this month to filing suit against the president.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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