Protesters coalesced on Capitol Hill Wednesday to rail against the Iran nuclear agreement during a rally that drew a slew of conservative heavyweights, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Cruz labeled the deal “catastrophic” and the “single greatest national security threat to America,” evoking cheers from the hundreds who poured onto the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in the 90-degree heat.
He said economic sanctions relief under the accord would give Tehran billions of dollars to fund terrorist organizations, making the Obama administration “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.”
“[I]f you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them,” he said. “You cannot wash your hands of that blood.”
The lineup of speakers included a handful of Republican members of Congress, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, conservative talk show host Mark Levin, and Blaze radio host Glenn Beck, among others.
Palin called the deal “insane,” adding, “You don’t reward terrorism; you kill it.”
The rally comes a day after Senate Democrats secured enough support to block a Republican-led effort to reject the deal, potentially saving President Barack Obama from having to use his veto.
The four remaining undecided Democrats announced their approval Tuesday, surpassing the 41 votes needed to filibuster a resolution of disapproval. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington was the 42nd Democrat to back the accord, giving Obama a cushion.
However, it remains unclear whether the Democrats who support the agreement will stick together to filibuster the resolution of disapproval, leaving a potential veto still in play.
Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware endorsed the deal but told CNN he thought it would be “regrettable” if the Senate did not allow an up-or-down vote on the accord. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was also hesitant to back a filibuster, telling Politico he would “wait and see” what the full caucus said Wednesday.
The House is expected to consider its resolution of disapproval Thursday, which is anticipated to pass with 60 percent of the chamber’s support.
But House Republicans are moving to stop the upcoming vote.
Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois is attempting to force a vote on a resolution that claims that the administration has not handed the entire accord to Congress, noting the secret side deal signed between Iran and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency allowing Tehran to inspect its own nuclear sites, which Congress still has not seen.
Under the statute passed unanimously in the spring that gives lawmakers the authority to review and vote on the accord, every piece of the agreement must be disclosed to Congress.
Roskam told Politico that the 60-day “clock” counting down the days Congress was given to review the deal should not begin ticking until the administration complies with the law.
Congress has until Sept. 17 to vote on the accord. If a vote does not take place, the deal will go into effect.
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