Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday that he expects an “overwhelming vote” on Thursday in favor of legislation that would allow Congress to review a nuclear deal with Iran.Corker's goal is to get a bill passed with strong bipartisan support. But "poison pill" amendments introduced by ultra-rightist senators could make it a useless exercise by stripping away Democratic support and leaving it open to a presidential veto that couldn't be overridden.
Corker also said he believes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will file cloture on the bill and end debate, which could prevent the Senate from voting on a controversial amendment that would require Iran to recognize Israel as part of the deal.
“My sense is that cloture is going to be filed,” Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. “My sense is that Thursday there's a very strong chance that we'll get an overwhelming vote.”
It's not known whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will choose to allow a vote on the amendment to mandate that any deal with Iran over its nuclear program must include Tehran's recognition of Israel. Thanks to the Democratic objections created by a parliamentary maneuver engineered last week by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to get that amendment voted on, many other proposed amendments are now destined for the dustbin as McConnell and Corker seek to hang onto support for the over bill. Of the 66 co-sponsors, 20 are Democrats. But passing the Israel recognition amendment and a few others would undoubtedly spur many of them to withdraw their backing.
Corker is working with the ranking committee Democrat Ben Cardin to come up with a manager's package of softer amendments. That approach is what led to the current form of the bill passing the Foreign Relations Committee by a unanimous vote, and to President Obama's reluctant decision to sign it.
Ali Gharib, an Iranian-American journalist who writes regularly on Iranian affairs, has posted an interesting background piece discussing how the fight over the review act has pitted some neoconservatives against other neoconservatives and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The wrangle, Gharib says, has isolated William Kristol and his protégé, Tom Cotton, on the matter of the amendments. While AIPAC and some neoconservatives would, of course, prefer a tougher bill, they've chosen a more pragmatic course, apparently believing the current diluted bill is better than none at all. Kristol and his pals would just as soon kill it.