WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is putting off a vote on an Iran bill amid confusion and backlash about his endgame.
Mere hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his Tuesday address to a joint session of Congress to warn US lawmakers about the emerging deal between five global powers and Tehran, the Kentucky Republican announced his intention to hold a vote next week on a bill requiring congressional approval of any accord.
Democrats reacted with shock, believing they had a deal with GOP leaders to wait until March 24. That’s when the framework of an Iran deal must be in place. Even some Republicans were caught off guard, saying they understood Democrats’ pleas to let the talks play out.
When a faction of hawkish Democrats told the majority leader they would not support the legislation until the late-March deadline has come and gone, he altered course.
“It is clear that Senate Democrats will filibuster their own bill — a bill they rushed to introduce before the White House cut a deal with Iran,” Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman, wrote in an email.
“So, instead, the Senate will turn next to the anti-human-trafficking legislation while Democrats decide whether or not they believe they and Congress as a whole should be able to review and vote on any deal the president cuts with the leaders of Iran,” Stewart wrote. “The Senate will take up the trafficking bill on Tuesday morning.”
Read More:Under Fire, McConnell Delays Iran Vote.