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Senate Heads for Recess After Reaching Deal on Iran, Cyber Debates (Video)

McConnell announced no further votes before recess. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate's figured out how to go ahead with debates on both the Iran deal and cybersecurity legislation — debates that will not happen in earnest until after the August recess.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., secured an agreement to take up a congressional disapproval of the deal between the P5+1 powers (the U.S., Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany) and Iran that President Barack Obama made the case for during a speech at American University earlier Wednesday.  

"The debate we're going to have in a matter of weeks, I want it to be, I think all of us do, dignified and befitting the gravity of one of the most important issues of the day," Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in announcing his concurrence in the path forward.  

McConnell Proposes Structure for Iran Debate

McConnell first appeared on the floor Wednesday afternoon to withdraw a previously scheduled vote to limit debate on taking up the bipartisan cybersecurity bill this week, reaching a deal with Reid that was modified to provide for 21 amendments to be called up at a time that McConnell determines in the future.  

"With this agreement, we've set up expedited consideration of the cyber-bill and the Iran resolution," McConnell announced. "The Senate will hold voice votes on executive nominations, but there'll be no further roll call votes this week."  

The moves clear the last major obstacles for the August break, less than two hours before an all-senators briefing on the international agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear development.  

The Iran debate will be the first critical piece of Senate business when lawmakers return to the Capitol just after Labor Day, with the deadline for action falling on Sept. 17, just 10 calendar days after the Senate's scheduled to reconvene. McConnell said Tuesday he wants an old-fashioned debate with little other Senate business and senators sitting at their desks to listen to their colleagues for and against the deal.  

Both McConnell and Reid lined up related amendments that will be able to be in the queue for whenever the cybersecurity debate takes place. The amendment process will begin with Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., bringing a substitute amendment to the floor.

McConnell Says No Shutdowns

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