McConnell Calls for ‘Thorough, Thoughtful and Respectful’ Senate Debate on Iran Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor outlining the September debate on the President’s Iran Deal:

“This September, the Senate will formally weigh in on the nuclear deal struck between the White House and Iran. We’ll take a vote and answer a simple but powerful question: Will the agreement actually make America and its allies safer?

“When we do, the Senate— as an institution— will be put to the test.

“The first test will come in which answer we arrive at.

“Some might take the view that releasing billions of dollars to a state sponsor of terrorism while leaving the regime with thousands of nuclear centrifuges, an advanced research and development program, and the means to improve its full-spectrum warfighting capability would represent an acceptable outcome.

“Those Senators will vote one way.

“Others will say that ending Iran’s nuclear program is worth the necessary exertion of political leadership — leadership to keep the coalition unified, to reveal Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and its support of terrorism, and to resolve IAEA concerns over Tehran’s refusal to allow access to nuclear scientists and facilities — because doing so would be in the best interests of our country and in the best interests of our allies.

“Those Senators will vote a different way.

“In answering this fundamental question, every Senator will reveal his or her view of America’s standing, its leadership, and its capabilities in the modern world. They will demonstrate whether they think these things can and should be brought to bear to defend our interests and to defend against Iran’s aggressive expansion and its threatening nuclear program.

“We know that the next Senate and the next President will continue to be faced with a threat posed by Iran.

“So we should conduct this debate with our eyes on the future.

“This is a critical test.

“But it’s not the only one.

“The other test comes not in which answer we choose, but in how we answer the question.

“Can we join together to conduct a debate worthy of the importance of this agreement?

“Can we call up the resolution and respectfully debate it, without employing delay tactics designed specifically to impede the Senate’s review of such a weighty matter?

“Are Senators willing to focus on a matter of interest to the institution, defer committee activities, and sit in their chairs to truly listen and debate their colleagues on a matter of such significance?

“Nearly every member of both parties voted to have this debate when they passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. Surely Senators wouldn’t then turn around to block a proper debate from even proceeding.

“My hope is that the Senate can reach agreement to call up the appropriate resolution, reach agreement to allow ample time for Senators to express their views, and then proceed to a thorough, thoughtful, and respectful debate.

“Because it’s hard to overstate the importance of what we’re about to consider.

“Our role in the world. Our commitment to our allies and the kind of future we’ll leave our children. It’s all wrapped up in this issue.

“The debate we’ll conduct deserves the appropriate and respectful deliberation that this body was designed to facilitate.

“Every Senator owes as much to this institution, and every Senator owes as much to this country and to the people we serve.

“We may disagree on the first test.

“But we should all agree on the second one.”

Related Issues: National Security, Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran, Restoring the Senate