Updated 2:58 p.m. | Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker predicted there was no hope for additional amendments to his bill to provide for review of the Iran agreement — and that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's next step would be to limit debate.
"Mitch has a decision now about filing cloture. My sense is, you'll need to talk with him, but that's what he's going to do," the Tennessee Republican said of his Kentucky counterpart's likely next move. Senate Republicans announced no further floor votes for the week.
"We were moving towards approving a large, large tranche of amendments," Corker said, speaking of the work underway Thursday morning to set up votes that never happened. "I think that's probably over now."
Corker's comments to reporters came after a GOP luncheon that followed an appearance by Sen. Tom Cotton on the floor to explain that he was insisting on simple majority votes on contentious amendments to legislation to provide congressional review of any final nuclear deal with Iran, apparently stymieing the possibility of moving forward, at least for now.
The Arkansas Republican sought to line up a pair of amendments that supportive Democratic senators have said could cause them to remove support for the bill. One of those, sponsored by Cotton, would require Iran to allow inspectors full access to suspicious sites. The other, led by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, would require Tehran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
"I think some of the tactics that are now being deployed are going to make it much more difficult for us to be able to proceed in an orderly way," Foreign Relations ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin said.