Tags: Iran | Marco Rubio | Rand Paul | Tea Party | iran bill | nuclear talks | sanctions

GOP Warns 2016 Hopefuls on 'Poison Pill' Amendments to Iran Bill

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 10:04 AM

Leading Republican senators have warned GOP presidential hopefuls against advancing their campaign agendas with "poison pill" amendments that could hold up a congressional plan to review a White House nuclear deal with Iran.

"If we want to give the American people a voice in this deal, this legislation's got to pass," South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-ranked GOP leader, told Politico.

He added that presidential candidates "are going to take the opportunity" of the Iran bill to turn it into platform for their policies. "That's their right, that's their prerogative as senators. But I hope everybody keeps in mind what the end goal is."

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also cautioned his Senate colleagues not to turn the Iran debate into a self-serving presidential campaign manifesto.

"There can be a robust amendment process, but the people that bring an amendment to break this deal apart" will benefit only "the Iranians," Graham said.

And Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said: "Any amendments that might stall this bill I think are the wrong way to go. We need the president to sign this legislation. There are a certain number of us, at least, that are committed to block any poison pill amendments."

In their potential amendments, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are pushing their opposition to the Obama administration's deal with the Islamic Republic while promoting their ties to Israel.

In Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's case, he's hoping that the Iran issue will give him the chance to enhance his fight against the government surveillance provisions in the Patriot Act, which is due to expire soon.

In so doing, he hopes to set himself apart from potential White House rivals and GOP hawks like Rubio and Graham, Politico reported.

Leading Republicans are concerned that the "political jockeying" of likely 2016 candidates will have a negative "poison pill" effect on the Iran nuclear review bill, which is now being considered by the Senate.

They fear that an assortment of powerful amendments to the bill would anger Iran and result in the White House threatening to veto the bill, which would allow Congress to reject any deal to reduce economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for cutbacks in its nuclear program.

Although Paul has not yet filed an amendment to the Iran bill, his office suggested that the senator plans to do so, according to the political news website.

"I don't consider it a poison pill amendment — I consider it a constructive amendment that would move in the direction of restoring the appropriate role for Congress," GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said of his amendment with Cruz.

Their amendment would require a majority of Congress to approve an Iran nuclear deal, rather than the current bill from Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, which needs the votes of 34 senators to approve a deal, Politico reported.

Corker's legislation, co-authored with Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, would allow Congress to reject the lifting of sanctions against Iran, which is a pivotal to any deal between the Obama administration and Tehran.

The bill would also require regular certification by the White House that Iran is following the terms of the deal, which could ultimately allow the next president to pull the plug on any accord, Politico said.

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Leading Republican senators have warned GOP presidential hopefuls against advancing their campaign agendas with "poison pill" amendments that could hold up a congressional plan to review a White House nuclear deal with Iran.
iran bill, nuclear talks, sanctions, marco rubio, ted cruz
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2015-04-29
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 10:04 AM
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