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"If this amendment passes, good luck finding anybody anywhere in the world who will partner with us, who would be brave enough to stand up to these thugs," he said.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) criticized the suggestion of restricting aid to Egypt as an affront to Israel's security. Corker has become one of the GOP leaders on the Foreign Relations Committee, where he is expected to take the lead upon the retirement of ranking member Dick Lugar (Ind.).
"The aid that we send to Egypt is to reinforce in many ways the Camp David accord that is very important to Israel, which is one of our major allies, one of the biggest allies we have in the world," Corker said, explaining that he recently discussed Egypt-Israel relations with the powerful Egyptian military leadership.
For his part, Graham did not restrict his criticism of Paul to the specific proposal scheduled to be voted on around midnight. He also took aim at much lower Defense Department and foreign aid funding levels called for in a budget resolution that Paul wrote this past spring.
The deal for late night Senate votes will actually allow Graham and others to send a message in favor of overseas engagement. A coalition of more than 80 Senators will get a chance to adopt a measure that would urge "diplomatic and economic pressure" to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.
"We know that Iran would create access for terrorists - access for them - to these nuclear weapons, making the Middle East a nuclear tinderbox," Blumenthal said in supporting that measure. "We cannot trust this regime. We know that fact beyond any potential doubt."
Paul was grim about the consequences of the resolution beyond sending a signal to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others in the Iranian government.
"I think a vote for this resolution is a vote for the concept of pre-emptive war. I know of no other way to interpret this resolution," Paul said.
In effect, he argued that if Iran managed to go too far down the path of developing nuclear weaponry in spite of diplomatic efforts, the resolution would endorse military intervention.