With all the attention focused on the Republican debate, a major event that been largely obscured is that today marked the end of the 60-day deadline to block the nuclear deal the P5+1 nations made with Iran. A final attempt in the US Senate to add amendments to the deal that would have effectively killed it failed today to get enough votes to overcome a filibuster and so the deal goes through.
In a final effort to derail the Iran nuclear deal, Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to get enough votes on an amendment that would have required Iran to recognize Israel and release Americans held in Iran before getting sanctions relief from the United States.
The amendment, which was considered on the last day Congress by law can act to scuttle the deal, needed 60 votes to pass but failed 53-45.
Three of the four Democratic senators who came out against the Iran deal itself voted against this amendment. Only Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted with the Republicans.
The failure to block the deal was not a surprise and the seeds of its defeat were planted a long time ago when the Republican leadership made a deal with the Democrats in Congress and the White House that passage of the deal could only be thwarted by a vote of disapproval. Given the certainty of a presidential veto if such a vote passed, this meant that only 34 votes were needed to sustain the veto and 41 to filibuster it and prevent it from even getting to president Obama and last week it became clear that the president had 42 votes.
The failure to block the deal is seen as a major defeat for the right-wing Israel lobby led by AIPAC and for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had campaigned hard against it. Philip Weiss explains what went wrong for them and the implications for the future of the lobby. President Obama will probably agree to send more arms and money to Israel when Netanyahu visits the White House on November 9, which is the usual way that US presidents buy off criticism whenever they do something that Israel and its lobby opposes.
This does not mean that the issue is ended. Republicans will continue to indulge in grandstanding over the issue the way they did during yesterday’s debate. You can expect all manner of other measures being proposed in Congress that would put impediments in the path of executing the deal but these will likely also lose.