United States Capitol building in Washington, DC..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats have voted against moving past debate on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal, a procedural move blocking an ultimate vote on the accord.
Four Democrats joined a united caucus of 54 Republicans in favor of a motion invoking cloture, which would have ended debate on the measure. But cloture requires 60 votes, and 42 Democrats voted against moving forward.
Democrats say they consider the threshold for such a vote to be 60 votes, given the stakes attached to the measure. Both parties say they had hoped to see an up-or-down vote at the end of the day.
"The issue before us is of immense consequence to our country. The American people are entitled to a real voice," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
McConnell said the Senate will have "one more chance" to vote next week on the measure, before Congress' review period expires on September 17.
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Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic leader in the Senate, said the vote was a "clear, decisive and final" end to the Iran deal debate. He asked his Republican colleagues not to "relitigate" the measure and asserted the deal "will stand."
"This matter is over with," Reid said. "We should move on to something else."
But the House Republican caucus does not believe that congressional review period has started, and will vote on a motion on Friday that will claim US President Barack Obama has not yet complied with a law requiring he submit the entire deal to Congress before that period begins.
If the vote stands, it saves Obama from having to veto a resolution of disapproval. Implementation of the agreement will then move forward.
Obama praised the development in a statement on Thursday released by the White House.
"Today, the Senate took an historic step forward and voted to enable the United States to work with our international partners to enable the implementation of the comprehensive, long-term deal that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he said. "We will turn to the critical work of implementing and verifying this deal."