Democratic Senator pushes back against efforts to prevent a vote on Iran deal

 

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) rejected a filibuster on Wednesday, telling CNN that “it would be really regrettable if we didn't ultimately go to the floor and cast our votes for or against this deal." Senator Coons has previously stated that the effort to prevent Congress from weighing in on the deal “goes against, in a gut sense, the view that many in Congress have, that our constitutional framework imagines congressional relevance to the conduct of foreign policy.” A bipartisan majority in both chambers opposes the deal.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, signed by the White House in May, gives Congress the opportunity to review the deal and approve or disapprove it, before the President can waive congressional sanctions imposed on Iran. The White House is now planning to filibuster a vote of disapproval, a move that many believe is against the spirit of that law. Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, emphasized that the “legislation was set up specifically to give members a vote” and stated that if members of the Senate “are not going to permit the vote on this deal and there’s going to be a Democratic filibuster… that defeats the intent of the legislation.”

Moreover, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, a majority of American voters oppose the deal, and preventing Congress from voting on it would deny representatives of the American public the ability to represent their constituents’ positions.  Additionally, former Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), current chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran, has highlighted the symbolic importance of a vote against the deal “as a statement to Iran” that indicates that members of Congress are wary of the deal and ready to take action should Iran violate it.

 

A survey found that two thirds of government personnel in the national security sector, including the Department of Defense and military, do not believe that the nuclear agreement with Iran is good for American interests, Defense One reported yesterday. Significantly, 58% of those surveyed serve at a managerial level or above.

 

Asked to evaluate the statement “The Iran nuclear deal is a good deal for the United States,” some 66 percent of responders disagreed — and two-thirds of that group “strongly disagreed.”

The group’s outlook was even dimmer about the deal’s effect on U.S. allies. Most respondents said that it would have a somewhat or mostly negative impact on the security of Israel (71%), Saudi Arabia (67%), the Gulf Arab states (67%), Jordan (59%), Iraq (58%), and Europe (53%).

Furthermore, over three fifths of respondents said that the best approach would be for the United States to walk away from agreement.

Some 62 percent said that the U.S. would be better off simply rejecting the deal and keeping current sanctions in place.

National polls reveal similar opposition to the nuclear agreement. Last month, a CNN pollshowed that 56% of voters disapprove of the deal, while a Quinnipiac University poll found that Americans opposed it by more than a 2-1 margin. A more recent Quinnipiac pollshowed similar results in the critical swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

While the deal’s supporters are looking to support a filibuster of the vote to approve or reject the agreement, a poll last week showed that over 80% of Americans oppose granting Iran any sanctions relief without the approval of Congress. (via TheTower.org)

 

Israel’s Rail Safe automated early-warning system uses infrared imaging to alert train engineers to obstacles while they still have time to stop. There is a train accident every 20 minutes somewhere in the world and a growing phenomenon of “rail suicide.” That’s why Elen Katz, CEO of Israeli startup Rail Safe, sees his revolutionary automated early-warning system as a life preserver. Rail Safe is developing its system jointly with Israel Railways, and seeks to raise about $1.5 million to enter the market within 12 to 16 months. Rail Safe’s forward-mounted infrared camera produces a high-resolution image of any obstacle in any conditions from up to two kilometers away — much longer than a train’s 1.5km maximum breaking distance. Thermal imaging shows the color of the object clearly distinguished from the surroundings, so the driver can easily see if a car, person, animal, mudslide or anything else is obstructing the tracks ahead. Built from off-the-shelf components, the system also alerts the driver in plenty of time to slow and/or stop the train. (via Israel21c)

 


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