- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Iran nuclear agreement debate kicked off Wednesday in Congress with Democrats eager to put some distance between themselves and President Obama, while still backing him on the fundamentals that will grant legitimacy to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Republicans were dealing with a minor revolt within their own ranks by conservatives who said the nuclear deal should be considered as a treaty, or who said the entire debate should be put off until Mr. Obama provides all of the secret side agreements accompanying the nuclear deal.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waved those off, saying the deal is not a treaty, and saying even if Congress tries to object to the timing, Mr. Obama will plow ahead anyway, so there’s no alternative other than to vote.

“We have to act by Sept. 17,” he told reporters just ahead of the debate, which began with many of the senators sitting at their desks — an unusual occurrence that signified the weighty issues at stake.

With an Obama victory assured, thanks to Democratic support, all sides have already begun looking beyond his tenure and toward the next president, who will end up with most of the heavy lifting in monitoring Iran’s compliance.

The second-ranking Democrat in the House proposed a new special congressional committee aimed at keeping an eye on Iran, while a number of lawmakers said the U.S. should sign new agreements guaranteeing American support should Israel feel threatened.

But Mr. McConnell said he won’t allow any of those proposals, which he called a “therapeutic get-well effort,” by Democrats eager to distance themselves from the president, to reach the Senate floor until Democrats can prove they’re willing to buck the president and overturn a potential veto.

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