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tv   Senate Debate on Iran Nuclear Agreement  CSPAN  September 10, 2015 10:00am-6:01pm EDT

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inputting the correct data into the national background check system. as recently as june, mr. president, both senators toomey and manchin have indicated they were considering ways to renew their efforts at meaningful background checks. i want to state clearly today that they will have my full support in this effort. i call on my colleagues to work with us to get legislation, expanding meaningful background checks, to the floor of the senate before the end of this year. i can think of no better way to honor the lives of alison parker and adam and the thousands of other american families touched by gun violence. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. i'm sorry. the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, i intend to support the resolution of disapproval of the
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comprehensive plan of action negotiated by the obama administration with the islamic republic of iran. the agreement falls woefully short of the international goal to improve global security by stopping iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. the american people and congress were promised an inspections regime providing anywhere, any time access to facilities where tests were conducted. instead iran can delay access to facilities for up to 24 days. this is inconsistent with the obama administration's claims that no part of this agreement is based on trusting iran at its word. a credible agreement would include stronger verification measures to ensure that the
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iranians play by the rules, particularly given that government's well-documented efforts to conceal its nuclear activities and ambitions. we're also concerned about the consequences of lifting the economic sanctions that forced iran to the negotiating table. this agreement is an issue offing long-term -- issue of long-term significance. our country and our allies will be forced to deal with the repercussions of a strengthened iran for the foreseeable future. this agreement is a bad deal for us and our allies, and i will not support it.
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mr. hatch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i've been a member of this body for nearly four decades. during that time i've had the honor to participate in numerous debates that changed the course of the future, but i think think of none more important than the one in which we are now engaged. the iranan regime is one of the our most dangerous foes. it has repeatedly proclaimed its intent to wipe israel off the map. it perpetrated violence against american servicemen and civilians alike. it has sown conflict across the most volatile region of the world. and it has suppressed its people by some of the most ghastly
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methods imaginable. indeed, mr. president, we should remember throughout this debate that our quarrel is not with the iranian people. the iranian people are our friends, and we should remember throughout our plight their desire for a comparative relationship -- cooperative relationship with the united states and the rest of the world. it is the dictatorial and fanatical regime that seeks to build and even use nuclear weapons to destabilize the entire region and to kill americans and israelis. given the threat posed by this rogue regime, preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is absolutely critical. it is a goal shared across party lines as well as amongst many of our friends and allies abroad. all of us here prefer to prevent iran from acquiring this capability by diplomatic means
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if possible rather than by armed conflict. in light of this shared desire to resolve the iranian threat without a war, i examined the obama administration's proposed agreement, hopeful, skeptical that i could support the deal. nevertheless, the duty incumbent upon us as senators is not to accept or reject this deal based upon knee-jerk reactions or blind partisan loyalty, but rather to determine our stances based on thorough examination and reasoned judgment. regrettably, after much study, i have concluded that this is a catastrophically bad deal that i must strongly oppose. at the outset i should note that the media is reporting that president obama has gathered the votes to support his iran deal. in reality, he has done no such thing. were this a treaty, it would fall well short of the necessary
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two-thirds requirements. it won't and it can't even muster a majority in either the house or senate. there is nothing bipartisan about support for this deal. only the opposition is bipartisan, and only the opposition is a majority. and the deal lacks the most important kind of support, that of the american people. a strong majority of americans oppose this deal, and they're right to do so. far from blocking the iranian regime's path to nuclear weapons capability, this agreement actually secures what mark devowitz, executive director for the foundation of defense for democracies calls a -- quote -- "patient pathway" to nuclear weapons capability. consider the time line. from day one the iranian regime
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will be able to use resources containing thousands of centrifuges and conduct research and development. after eight years iran will be allowed to begin building hundreds of advanced new centrifuges annually. it will be allowed to expand its ballistic missile program. after 15 years, iran will be permitted to stockpile significant quantities of enriched uranium, use advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium on an industrial scale and build heavy water reactors according to the state department's own facts sheet. and after only ten years, iran's breakout time to rush for a nuclear weapon drops -- quote -- "almost down to zero" as president obama himself admitted mr. president, in the words of former deputy national security advisor juan zuratay, this deal stalls, then enables, and then
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validates an iranian nuclear program. unquote. all that the iranian regime has to do is abide by the terms of the agreement to achieve threshold nuclear weapons status with an expanded infrastructure for the production of nuclear material and a visible means of delivering a nuclear weapon to targets as far away as the united states. moreover, the deal's means of ensuring and verifying the iranian regime's compliance with these temporary limits on its nuclear programs are, frankly, pathetic. our only peaceful means of recourse under the deal, the so-called snap-back mechanism, involves an incredibly cumbersome process, and everybody here knows it's not going to be snapped back once business as usual begins in iran. it allows the iranian regime to delay international inspections for up to 24 days without
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recourse, a critical gap that some experts -- or that experts such as former international atomic energy agency deputy general for safeguards hyman and former deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonprovision will i can't be toby assert would allow iran to hide evidence of illicit nuclear activities. other parties could drag out the snap-back mechanisms for two months before reimposing nuclear sanctions approximately the same as obama's breakout time. furthermore the deal makes the snapback mechanisms available for instances of -- quote -- "incidents of nonperformance" leaving no mechanisms for the achieving that go characterized the iranian nuclear program so
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are if a. perhaps the most troubling, it remains unclear whether weapons inspectors will even have access to all iranian nuclear facilities in the first place. senior officials of the iranian regime have repeatedly claimed that the deal does not allow access to military sites. the agreement's language appears to have been left deliberately vague on this point. hardly an encouraging development. moreover, press accounts of an iaea side deal with iran indicate that the international watchdog has already agreed to rely on the iranian regime to conduct its own inspections of the parchin weapons testing site providing the iaea with only photographs, videos, and environmental samples. former iaea deputy general hyman
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may have put it best when he observed -- quote -- "if the reporting is accurate, these procedures appear to be risky, departing significantly from well-established and proven safeguards practices. at a broader level if verification standards have been diluted for parchin or elsewhere and limits imposed, the ramifications is significant as it will affect the iaea's ability to draw definitive conclusions with the requisite level of assurances and without undue hampering of the verification process." unquote. that's troubling. regarding these troubling reports, i have a number of outstanding questions and concerns that have only been amplified by the obama administration's steadfast refusal to share the text of the agreement with congress. this intransigence amounts to an evasion of the spirit and possibly the text of the bipartisan of the iran nuclear
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agreement review act, a development that rightfully sows doubt and concern about what else the obama administration might be hiding. in light of these incredible concessions to the iranian regime, i am very, very concerned about a number of other factors. and i have to say i'm also deeply troubled by the great benefits the iranian regime stands to enjoy from this deal. to use the succinct words of one scholar -- quote -- "president obama is agreeing to dismantle the sanctions regime permanently. in return, tehran is agreeing to slow the development of its nuclear program temporarily." unquote. the current sanctions regime imposed heavy costs on the
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iranian economy. oil exports dropped by 60%. the inflation rate has risen to 40%. and foreign companies deterred by harsh penalties have avoided investing in iran, thereby isolating iran from the global economy. along with the threat of military action, these sanctions played a critical role in bringing the iranian regime to the negotiating table and we should thus be very careful before sacrificing this leverage. foolishly an exchange for minimal temporary concessions, the influx of -- i have to say seriously in return -- exchange for these minimal temporary concessions, the iranian regime stands to reap enormous rewards in sanctions relief. according to figures cited by president obama, the iranian regime will regain control of
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more than $150 billion -- that's with a "b" -- currently frozen in the world's financial institutions. sanctions relief will also allow an influx of international businesses into iran, bringing about a stronger economy and greater revenue for the tehran regime. where should we expect this money to be spent? will it go to the long-suffering iranian people who are the victims of this regime? people who have contributed to the civilization and good of mankind, people who we really do appreciate? people whose true spirit has been repressed for almost 40 years, people who have paid a high price because of radical fundamentalism of their leaders, the people who look to us for strength in the defense of our ideals, not capitulation to this
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heinous regime. unfortunately, we cannot expect such an outcome. if history is any guide, we should expect the iranian regime to use sanctions relief to pursue its dangerous aims, including to support its terrorist proxies that represent a dire threat to the stability of the whole region, such as hamas and gaza and hezbollah in lebanon, the houthis in yemen and the murderous assad regime in syria. to encourage the -- quote -- "swarming of foreign businesses to iran" which the iranian foreign minister believes will make it -- quote -- "impossible to reconstruct" broad international sanctions, to take advantage of the lifting of the u.n. arms embargo to take advantage of sufficient weapons systems which would make american or israeli military action against the iranian
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nuclear program even more difficult than it already would be, and to shore up political and financial standing of the most radical elements of the iranian regime, reducing the likely hood of internal reform and a more constructive iranian foreign policy. mr. president, if the iranian regime suddenly becomes flush with cash, what incentive will it have to change priorities 15 years from now? doesn't this deal reward what the obama administration called -- quote -- "bad behavior" in one of the most astonishing understatements that i have ever heard. in the words of one experts, when in the course of human history did getting $150 billion at the stroke of a pen ever convince anyone that they have been wrong all along? for a deal built on the unfounded hope that the iranian
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regime will change its ways, i see very little reason to expect success. and for a deal that would supposedly reinforce the position of iranian moderates and bring relief to the iranian people, i see only the prospect of strengthening the hand of the hard-liners and of sanctions relief diverted for more, for more violent misadventures rather than for the benefit of the iranian people. reflecting on this spectacularly bad deal, i can only conclude that the obama administration officials prove to be weak negotiators because out of absolute desperation for a deal, almost any deal. these massive concessions to the iranian regime for so little in return were produced by this administration's knee-jerk aversion to the prospect of using military force, a preoccupation demonstrated by the constant rhetoric that we
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hear from the white house that the only alternative to this deal is war. mr. president, that claim is patently false. we canned should go back to the negotiating table. by reassembling the sanctions coalition that this agreement throws away will not be easy and may not even be fully possible. a nation as strong as ours still has plenty of tools at our disposal. our unparalleled economic and military might give us significant leverage to get a better deal, and we should not be misled by overly simplistic rhetoric to conclude otherwise. war is never a happy matter to contemplate, especially from a position of responsibility such as in the united states senate. in this body, we are saddled all too often with the sorts of decisions in which real people's lives hang in the balance.
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those of our friends and neighbors, our fellow countrymen, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, and even those in far away and distant places that look to america as a guardian of freedom and speech. what abraham lincoln called the last best hope of earth. mr. president, none of us relish the prospect of war, especially in an age inform our weapons of a power almost too terrible to contemplate. in particular, neither i nor any of my colleagues seek a war with iran. as i said before, the iranian people are not our enemies. the people themselves are good. they are decent, they are honorable. they are even friends of the united states. they are our friends. no people have paid a higher price for the regime's record of terrorism, mass murder, corruption and duplicity than
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the iranians. the cost protect of conflicting -- inflicting collateral damage on our long-suffering friends counsels further against any course of action that leads to war. it is not a cavalier attitude about war that leads me to oppose this deal. it is my own wavering judgment that this deal makes war much more likely that leads me to oppose it. let there be no doubt -- a deal that paves rather than precludes iran's path to nuclear weapons capability makes war more likely. a deal that makes the iranian regime more confident of its ability to protect its nuclear program from military pressure and action makes war more likely. a deal that funnels tens of billions of dollars to terrorists bent on destabilizing the middle east makes war more likely. a deal that provokes a nuclear
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arms race in the most volatile region in the klobuchar makes war more likely. a deal that surrounds israel not only with a nuclear iran but also eventually with numerous other regimes with nuclear weapons capability and a genocidal attitude towards a jewish state makes war more likely. in a deal that puts the iranian regime and its terrorist allies one turn of a screwdriver away from a nuclear weapon and a means of delivering it across the ocean makes war more likely. war may come, mr. president, but it is not inevitable. as members of the world's greatest deliberative body, it is our duty to discern the wisest course of action that preserves the security of the united states and our allies, that reduces the risk of war, that does not let us -- but does not let the strong desire for peace we all share cloud our judgment about how we best preserve that peace.
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in this solemn debate, it is my hope that the voice of reason will have the power to change minds and overcome the pressures of our politics that so often color our debates. i'm encouraged in my hope by the fact that almost every member to come out in support of this deal has noted its significant flaws. that includes those who are going to vote for it, and the opposition to it an unambiguous, strong and bipartisan, and a majority in both the house and the senate opposes this. and particularly i want to pay tribute to four of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have bucked significant political pressure to vote their consciences against this bad deal. mr. president, we still have a chance to change course. all that is required is the bravery and good judgment to lead our nation and the world to
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an agreement that can actually preserve the long-term peace. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in opposing this disastrous deal and supporting a better way forward. and not use phony excuses knowing how bad this is to vote for it. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: first of all, i want to thank our honored president pro pro tempore for his outstanding comments, but while our distinguished friend from illinois is here, i thought i would talk through a unanimous consent. i think it has been cleared. i ask unanimous consent that time be further ditchedded as -- divided as follows. from 10:00 until 11:00 would be republican time. from 11:00 until 12 would be democrat time. from 12:00 until 1:00 would be republican time. from 1:00 until 2:00 would be democrat time. from 2:00 to 230republican time.
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from 2:30 until 3:00 would be democrat time. from 3:00 until 3:45 be equally divided between the leaders or their designees, and that senator menendez be given 15 minutes of the republican time and 15 minutes of the democrat time. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. durbin: if i might ask the senator from tennessee to clarify? the last part of his request relates to the period between 3:00 and 3:45? mr. corker: yes, that's correct. mr. durbin: without objection. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. corker: thank you, mr. president. so our side knows what will
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occur between now and the end of our time, the next 15 minutes will be for senator graham, then ten minutes to senator barrasso and then ten minutes to senator flake. with that, i'd yield the floor to one of the best national security voices in the united states of america, senator graham from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you very much. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you, senator corker. well, i just want to make sure people understand what we're trying to do here at this point. our democratic colleagues are filibustering an attempt to have a debate, an up-or-down vote on the most consequential foreign policy decision in modern history. that's what you're doing. and senator corker in good faith got us here in a bipartisan manner and senator reid has come out of nowhere to change what was the common understanding of how we would proceed, get 60
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votes, a simple majority, let the president act as he wishes. but no, we couldn't do that. we're more worried about protecting barack obama from having to veto this than you are about having a debate on the floor of the senate. now, let me tell you a little bit about who you're dealing with here, folks. and if i hear one more comment from my democratic friends about how much they love israel. with friends like this, you don't need an enemy. here's who you are dealing with. this was yesterday. the iran supreme leader predicted wednesday that israel would not exist in 25 years and ruled out any new negotiations with a satan to the united states beyond the recently concluded nuclear accord. in remarks published wednesday on his personal web site -- at least the ayatollah has gotten in modern times, and post on twitter, the supreme leader -- do you know what they call him
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supreme leader? because he is. ayatollah khamenei responding to what he said claims that israel would be safe for that period. where do those claims come from? it came from this administration, my colleagues on the other side. you're telling everybody in the world that this is the best deal for israel. guess what? nobody in israel agrees with you, who is in the current government. everybody who is in the current coalition government understands this is not a good deal for israel. why don't you listen to them? you want it to be a good deal for israel. well, it's not. and you wanting it doesn't change it. so let's finish to what he said. the ayatollah claims he would be safe for that period under the nuclear agreement reached in july. after nuclear negotiations, the zionist regime said they will not be worried about iran in the next 25 years. after nuclear negotiations, the zionist regime said they will not be worried about iran in the next 25 years.
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israel didn't say that. people over here said that. the ayatollah wrote i am telling you first you will not be around in 25 years, and god willing, there will be no zionist regime in 25 years. second, during this period, the spirit of fighting heroism and jihad will keep you worried at every moment. clearly, somebody who is on the course of change, somebody we should give $100 billion to, create a pathway to a nuclear bomb in 15 years let him buy more weapons in five years and build an intercontinental ballistic missile in eight years. clearly, this is the man that has changed course and you have empowered. at least, at least chamberlain can say hitler lied. at least chamberlain can say i negotiated with the furor, he -- with the fuhrer, he told me to my face if you give me, i'm done. we all know that chamberlain was
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a chump and hitler actually meant what he said when he wrote a book. the question is does this man mean what he says when he tweets yesterday? the ink is not dry on the deal. one thing you can say about the ayatollah, who is crazy, who is a religious nazi, at least he's honest. he doesn't want you to be confused as you vote as to what he wants to do to your friend israel. see, he doesn't want you to mistake what this deal means to him. you obviously are writing him off. you obviously believe he doesn't mean it. i guess he has a polling problem in iran. he's got to get his numbers up. he needs to say these things because he doesn't mean it but he has to keep his people happy because they like hearing this stuff. all i can tell you, his people tried to rise up against him in 2009, and our president said on the sidelines it didn't do a damn thing. the biggest moment for change in
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iran came in 2009 when young people and women took to the streets demanding a fair election that was stolen from them by the ayatollah and his response was to beat them, shoot them, put them in jail and torture them. this is the guy that you're going to give $100 billion to. a clear pathway to a bomb. he doesn't even have to cheat to get there. and buy more weapons to attack us. at least chamberlain lied. this man is telling you what he's going to do as of yesterday. and between these, the time the negotiations have started to now, has he given us -- shown us a little leg about real change? during the negotiations he has toppled four arab capitals. during the negotiations, he supported the houthis in yemen who destroyed a pro-american government, and we've lost eyes government, and we've lost eyes stuart: if ever i said it was the black market, this is the lab market. a moment ago 0.8.
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how about the price of oil appeared $44.80 a week. the gas continues to go down believe him. i cannot believe that you made the biggest miscalculation in modern history by empowering a religious fanatic with the ability to attack our nation, destroy our friends in israel and keep the mideast on fire for 15 years. what are y'all thinking over there? all i can say is that the last 9/11, 3,000 of us died because they couldn't get weapons to kill three million of us. if you let this deal go forward, before too long the most radical regime on the planet will have the most lethal weapons available to mankind. they will share that technology with terrorists and it will come here. and why do they need an icbm,
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folks? what are they going to do with it? they're not going to send people to space. what are you thinking? what are y'all thinking over there? you're taking the most radical regime on the planet, a theocracy. this is not a democracy. the moderates were shot down in the streets. they were gegging are you with us or with you with him, president obama? president obama is absolutely the most poor champion of freedom and the weakest opponent of evil in history. evil is flourishing on his watch. president obama said you'd have to be crazy not to support this deal. let's walk through whether or not we should follow his advice about radical islam. this is the president who was told to leave troops in iraq to make sure our gains would be maintained, and he pulled everybody out because he wanted to get to zero. he turned down every commander's advice to get to zero because he
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made a campaign promise. this is the president that was told by his entire national security team three yearsing a, establish a no-fly zone and help the free syrian army because assad is on the rope. at the time when it would have mattered when there was a free syrian army to help. obama said no thanks. this is the president who drew a red line against assad after he backed off and said if you use chemical weapons and cross that red line, you'll pay a price. here's the facts: assad is going to be empowered and obamacare -- and obama gg to be gone. the last guile standing is going to be assad. this is the man who said don't worry about side of the siel. they are the j.v. team. at what point do you realize that president obama has no idea what he's talking about? at what point in time is it obvious to anybody in the world
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who's paying attention when it comes to radical islam, he has no clue? so this is the guy we're going to send in to negotiate with a radical ayatollah, a guy who in the eyes of the world is a complete weak defender of freedom and a very poor adversary of evil? and if that's not enough, the iranians are rubbing this in john kerry and barack obama's face by tweeting this out hours before you vote on this deal, just to remind you that no matter what you say on this floor about israel, nothing's changed in his mind about israel. and when you claim israel's safe, he's telling you no, they're not. but you're not link because you -- you're not listening because you don't think he really means it. i can tell you right now, you better be right. and how about this idea, when it comes to the ayatollah, assume the worst, not the best. and to our friends in russia,
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john kerry said one of the big benefits of this deal is that we'll bring russia in, and iran will be a partner in the mideast. and we'll have a major breakthrough where iran begins to help us with problems like syria. here's russia's response before you vote. they're sending russian troops, maybe fighter planes into syria to prop up assad before you vote. taking everything john kerry said about what would happen if you do this deal and rubbing it in his face. tell me how you fix syria with assad in power? what the russians are doing are eninsurance company he will stay -- are ensuring he will stay in power longer. the longer he stays m power the more refugees the world will have to deal with. the syrian people want two things. they want to destroy isil and
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want assad gone because he destroyed their families. secretary kerry, how well is this working with this new engagement with iran and russia? things are really changing. look at the tweet yesterday. what are you going to tell the american people this means? interpret the ayatollah for me. this is just all talk? he has to say these things? he doesn't get elected. he doesn't have to worry about the next election. he says these things because he believes it. he's a religious fanatic compelled by his version of islam to destroy everything in his religion that he doesn't agree with, to destroy the one and only jewish state and attack democracies like ours. and you're giving him more to do that with. this is over time a death sentence for israel if it's not changed. and if i had $100 billion to negotiate with, for god's sake, could i get four people out of jail? i could get people out of jail here with $100 billion.
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who's negotiating with iran? this idea we're going to separate all of their bad behavior from the nuclear program was the biggest miscalculation in modern foreign policy history. to suggest that we don't need to look at iran as a whole unit, that we're going to ignore the fact that they have four hostages, u.s. personnel held in sham trials, a "washington post" reporter, that they are the largest state sponsor of terrorism, they detaibles the region -- destabilize the region, driven our friends out of yemen. they are supporting heez blah, a mortal enemy of israel, taken over the lebanese government. we're not going to worry about that. what do you think they're going to do with the $100 billion? do you think they're going to build roads and bridges? the next indication of the next 15 years is the last 35. when you separated their nuclear ambitions from their destructive
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behavior, giving them access to moral weapons and $100 billion, you made a huge mistake because you're damning the middle east and giving the largest state spror -- sponsor of terrorism more money and more weapons to attack us. and you couldn't get four people out of jail. the iranians must -- the only reason they're not dancing in iran, the yiet, he just doesn't -- the ayatollah, he doesn't believe in dancing. i've got friends over there who i respect and admire. i have no idea what you're thinking here. i have no idea why you believe the ayatollah doesn't mean what he says given the way he's based. if they will shoot their own children down in the streets to keep power, what do you think they'll do to ours? and the only reason 3,000 people died on 9/11 is they couldn't get the weapons to kill three million of us, and they're on
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course to do it now. i've never been more disappointed in the body than i am today. a body known to be the most deliberative body in democracy in the history of the world, and you won't let us have a vote. you won't let us have a debate. and please stop saying this deal makes israel safer. that's cruel. and your response to this deal is to give them more weapons because you know they're not safer. i find it a bit odd that in response to this deal we're selling the arabs every kind of weapon known to man. if you really thought this was such a good deal, why do you have to arm everybody who is in the cross hairs of the ayatollah? when they write the history of these times, they're going to look back and say that president obama was a weak opponent of
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evil and a poor champion of freedom. they're going to look and say that the united states senate refused to debate the most consequential foreign policy agreement in modern times. and people in israel are going to wonder where did america go? has it ever crossed your mind that everybody in israel who is in power, who is running the government today objects to this agreement? the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. graham: senator corker, thank you for trying to have the debate we need. to my p democratic friends, you own this. you own every "i" and every "t" and every bullet and you own everything that is to follow, and it's going to be holy hell.
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mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i'm proud of my colleague from south carolina for the remarkable speech that he just gave to this senate about the concerns about this president's deal with iran. the president's nuclear deal with iran, that's what the senate is debating right now, a deal that president obama negotiated with iran, and whether that deal should stand or fall. this agreement could affect american foreign policy in the middle east and beyond for this generation as well as the next. it will affect america's relationship with our allies as well as with our enemies. other countries are wondering, will america accept a flawed agreement that gives iran almost everything it has asked for.
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or will we as the united states of america stand strong against outlaw nations with nuclear ambitions and dreams? as senators prepare to vote on this legislation, we should ask does this agreement do enough to stop iran's nuclear weapons program. does this agreement do enough to protect the security of the american people and our friends around the world? mr. president, i believe the answer is "no." it would be irresponsible to support such a weak, such a naive, and such a dangerous deal. the original goal of ending iran's nuclear weapons program was a good one, and i wish the president had actually stuck with that goal. i wish the president had done a better job of negotiating with the iranians. he did not. during the negotiations, this
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administration was far too willing to make concessions, concessions that put our own national security at risk. we were in a very strong position during these negotiations from the start, and the obama administration squandered the advantage. the president badly wanted to strike a deal with iran, and that's a problem. because president obama has shown once again that if you want a deal bad enough, you will end up with a bad deal. the president fell in love with this deal, even though it is deeply flawed. and deeply flawed is a description that our democrat colleagues continue to make about this deal. the president cannot see the flaws that our colleagues on the senate floor can see because i believe that the president is blinded by deal euphoria. he is in love with the deal. the agreement that president
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obama has negotiated will legitimize iran's nuclear program. it will accept iran as a nuclear threshold state. to me, mr. president, this is inexcusable. it's not the deal the president should have signed. it's not the deal the president could have signed. it is not the deal that president obama promised that he would sign. president obama once said that iran didn't need advanced centrifuges in order to have a limited peaceful nuclear program. under this agreement, his administration didn't negotiate that iran will not eliminate a single centrifuge. it will continue to research more advanced centrifuges, and it can even start building them. so how did it happen? how did this happen? it was on the day the agreement was announced, the president of iran bragged -- bragged about how he had gotten the obama
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administration to surrender on this point. to surrender, that's the language that i'm hearing around the state of wyoming and certainly the language that we're hearing from iran. the president surrendered. in the beginning, the president said that the united states said iran would only need 100 centrifuges, then the number went to 1,000, then 4,000. then be eventually allowed more than 6,000. when it mattered most, the obama administration wanted a deal so badly that it was willing to concede on point after point after point. and this proves if you want a deal bad enough, you will get a bad deal. and that's what we have here today. the same thing happened with ballistic missiles. general martin dempsey, who is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the united states military, told the senate armed services committee -- quote --
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"under no circumstances, under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking. under no circumstances. defense secretary ash carter also testified at the same hearing. now, this hearing, of course, was six days, only six days before the final deal was announced by the president. the secretary of defense said we want them to continue to be isolated as a military and limited in terms of the kinds of equipment and materials they are able to get. six days before the final deal was announced. so what happened? what did the president surrender on? the president of the united states surrender on? with this agreement, iran will have access to ballistic missile technology in as little as eight years, even though the secretary of defense said no, even though the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said under no circumstances.
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you know, that's when russia and other countries are going to be able to start selling this deadly technology to iran, and i believe that iran will use it. now, this was a last-minute demand that iran made, and it should have been easy for president obama to reject it, but he did not. he surrendered. the president was so desperate to get a deal that he gave in once again. it's always the same story with the obama administration. if you want a deal bad enough, you're going to get a bad deal, and they have. when the obama administration is negotiating with countries that need a deal, much more than we do, the president of the united states surrenders. this administration has no red lines when it comes to negotiating. they will give away anything to get a deal. there have been too many concessions for anyone to be comfortable with this agreement, too many red flags.
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president obama cannot see the defects that are obvious in this plan. he refuse toss see what is so clear to the american people. after this agreement, iran will be a nuclear threshold state and a military and an industrial power. it will have the money to support terrorists around the world, more money than it's had in the past. it will have the freedom to pursue its nuclear ambitions. even some democrats who have said that they support the deal are doing so with great reservations. they say they know it's not a good deal, but they say it's the only option we've got. well, that's not a good enough reason for me to accept all of the risks and all of the concessions that the obama administration allowed to this agreement. the president says the choice is the iran nuclear deal or war. he has said it time and time
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again. it is fearmongering. it's not true. there's an alternative. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said so. general dempsey was asked about that at a hearing of the armed services committee. in answer to a question is it this or war, he said i can tell you that we have a range of options, and i always present it, present them to the president. we have a range of options. it's not a choice between this deal or war. it's a choice between accepting a bad deal or rejecting it. if the only choice is to take this deal or leave it, then we must leave it. the obama administration doesn't want us to have a vote here in the senate. the obama administration knows it signed a bad deal, and it wants the whole thing to disappear from the front pages before it causes them any more embarrassment.
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so instead of having a full and honest debate on the floor of the senate, the president and the senate democratic leader are trying to hide behind a filibuster. that's not how the senate should handle this important resolution of disapproval to disapprove the iran deal. every member of the senate should be willing to cast a vote up or down on this iran deal. we should stand up, we should represent the people of our state in this nation, and we should cast our votes. the obama administration has made its arguments and it has failed to make its case. the president has not shown that america will be better off with this deal, and i believe we would be better without it. we have heard the administration's excuses. we have heard all of the ways that the final deal fell short of their promises. america can't afford to let iran have the nuclear program that this agreement will allow it to obtain. we should vote to disapprove the
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iran deal. the president should drop his veto threat. the president should send his people back to the negotiating table as this deal proposes and poses too great of a threat to america's national security for us to do anything else. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: as we continue the debate on one of the most important foreign policy matters this body has addressed in some time, i would be remiss if i didn't mention how honored i am to be a part of it. it's not unusual for the congress to engage in debate over matters like spending bills or to authorize various federal agencies or executive branch judicial nominations or other
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business that we routinely attend to around here, but it's only on occasion that this body gets to have the opportunity to weigh in on some of the more pressing foreign policy matters. when it does, the legislation it considers often has lasting consequences for the united states and for the rest of the world. take, for example, the taiwan relations act passed by both chambers in 1979 in response to normization of relations between the u.s. and china. this piece of legislation remains a cornerstone of the u.s.-taiwan relationship to this day. likewise, this body has considered a number of arms limitation treaties over the decades between the united states and russia. a strategic arms reduction treaty or start was approved by this body in 1992 by a vote of 93-6. start-2 was approved in 1996.
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i'm sorry. the former was 1992. start-2 was approved in 1996 by a vote of 87-4. most recently, the new start treaty with russia was approved in 2010 by a vote of 71-26. these bills address subject matter that was highly controversial. i am sure there was a fair amount of disagreement between democrats and republicans and between the congress and the white house, but in instances too numerous to count, senate deliberation ended with a bipartisan vote to set u.s. foreign policy in place for years, even decades, and signal that america was speaking to the rest of the world with one voice. i deeply regret that the jcpoa will not build on this history. unfortunately, the administration elected to negotiate this deal as an executive agreement rather than a treaty. that was the administration's
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call. of it does mean, however, that the administration did not need to negotiate the jcpoa, mindful that it would need the support of 67 senators. it also means that the senate did not have the opportunity to offer so-called rud's, reservations, understandings and declarations that can accompany treaties and clarify its interpretation of the agreement. now, to be sure, there are several troubling aspects of this agreement that could have been approved -- or i'm sorry, improved had the senate had the opportunity to consider the jcpoa as a treaty. for example, the text of the agreement clearly states that any rei am position of sanctions specified in annex two would be viewed by iran as a violation of the agreement. it would promptly -- i'm sorry. and would likely prompt iran to cease abiding by its obligations under the agreement. the sanctions in annex two
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include the influential sanctions such as those on iran's central bank. these have had a profound effect on iran's economy. in hearings and briefings by the administration, i've asked whether the united states could reimpose these powerful sanctions at some point down the line for nonnuclear behavior by the iranian government to penalize iran for regional activities or for committing acts of terrorism. this regime, as we know, is made achieving regional hegemony its calling card since its inception in 1979, but the administration has assured me that these sanctions would be available in the future, but unfortunately that simply does not square with the text of the agreement. the question of rei am position of sanctions raises the further question of how this agreement
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might bind the hands of future congresses and future administrations. as i previously mentioned, although the jcpoa has already been adopted by the united nations, it will never be the supreme law of the land in the united states because it is not a treaty. a treaty that has been agreed to by at least 67 senators gives the treaty a critical i am paramature that insulates it over the life span of the treaty. the jcpoa will benefit from no such impramatur. and what if a future congress or a future president wishes to reimpose sanctions against iran or take some of their actions that might legitimately cause iran to accuse us of legitimately violating the jcpoa? a future congress or president could be put in the position of either having to preserve an agreement that neither of it had been negotiating or taking action that would result in iran walking away from its nuclear
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obligation. it would be beneficial for u.s. foreign policy to steer clear of those lose-lose propositions. the current administration has already expressed reluctance to push back iran's interpretation of the agreement even before it has been implemented. i have serious concerns that if there is reluctance to push back now, there will be even more reluctance to push back on iran's regional behavior once the deal is in place. this gives iran more leverage than it currently has moving forward, and it could have disastrous consequences to the middle east. these are issues that could have been addressed in a positive manner by the senate if the agreement had been submitted as a treaty. now, when this agreement was announced, i said that i would take every opportunity to learn more about it. i attended every hearing held by the senate foreign relations committee. i want to commend chairman
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corker and ranking member cardin for holding these hearings and going about this in such a deliberative and serious manner. i attended every classified congressional briefing, several other briefings and had discussions with numerous experts and administration officials. after these discussions, these hearings, these briefings, i believe that it's a much closer call on this agreement than most want to admit. there are positive aspects on the nuclear side. unfortunately, unfortunately this deal suffers from significant shortcomings. hoping that iran's nuclear ambitions might change after a 15-year sabbatical might be a bet worth taking. believing that iran's regional behavior will change tomorrow while giving up tools to deter or modify such behavior is not a bet worth taking. it is for these reasons that i reluctantly oppose the jcpoa.
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i do hope that we can make up for this unfortunately partisan vote by working together and with the president to pass a regional security framework agreement that will not only assure israel and our allies in the region but solidify this agreement throughout the duration of the jcpoa. the united states is strongest when we speak with one voice on foreign policy matters. and with that, mr. president, let me turn to another issue very briefly since i wouldn't have time otherwise today. yesterday, we were able to pass on a bipartisan basis, in fact unanimously a bipartisan bill to help put veterans back to work as customs and border protection officers at understaffed u.s. ports of entry. earlier this week, secretary of homeland security jeh johnson
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confirmed that the agency has not yet filled 1,200 of the 2 now new c.b.b. officer positions created by congress in 2015 to improve security and reduce trade-stifling commercial traffic at the ports. secretary johnson has attributed these shortfalls to delays associated with applicant background investigations, and so we were able to pass legislation to -- to force the military to work with the department of defense and the department of homeland security to work together with this legislation. now they will do so and hopefully improve the backlogs that we have at the border. i applaud my colleagues for making this happen and cosponsors john mccain, chuck schumer, richard blumenthal, dianne feinstein and others. thank you for passing this legislation. it will improve the situation on
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the arizona border. thank you, mr. president. i yield back. mr. corker: mr. president? i know the time has ended. and senator daines wanted to speak very briefly, senator durbin is allowing that to give back time in just a moment, if we might have three minutes so -- okay. mr. daines: senator corker, thank you and senator durbin, thank you as well for that. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: the deal reached by the obama administration sets iran on a course to do so. from the time this deal is
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agreed to, iran has ten years to fill their coffers with tens of billions of dollars from newly sanctioned oil sales in pursuit of capabilities. as the world's leader of state sponsored terrorism, it will only be a matter of time before iran achieves its ultimate goal and that is obtaining a nuclear weapon. and these are bipartisan concerns. this deal will not prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and the american people deserve a better deal. this deal is stacked against transparency. it provides up to 24-day delay before iran is forced to comply with ininspections of sites. this is a long, long ways from anywhere, any time the american people were promised. can you imagine if the e.p.a. or the f.d.a. came knocking on a montana farmer or business own ear door and said, well, you can't come and inspect right now but come back in 24 days.
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that is what we have set up right now with the iranian government through this deal. through this deal the american people are being asked to enter into a binding trust agreement with the world's leading state sponsor of terror. in fact, just yesterday i looked at my twitter feed and my supreme leader of iran has called -- is called the supreme leader for a reason. ayatollah mccaina said i expect you, the israelis, will not see the coming 25 years and god willing, there will not be something named the zionist regime in the next 25 years and then he went on to reiterate calling america the great satan. this is who the united states is making this bad nuclear deal with. it is not a mistake to push for suffer sanctions. the american people deserve a better option. last -- two nights ago i had a
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town hall meeting with hundreds of thousands of montana households, overwhelmingly, by 3-1 they oppose this deal. and as we close, let me say this -- as i step back and look at the numbers today, it was looking at the united states senate, about 58 senators are opposed to this deal. just 42 supporting it. those 58 who oppose it are bipartisan. the house numbers are similar in ratios. so the point is this -- there is bipartisan opposition to this deal, both democrats and republicans joining together. the only support is partisan. it is a mistake to not push for a better deal that can be supported by more than just one segment of one political party. i yield back my time. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: for those following the debate this morning.
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the democratic leader, harry reid of nevada said for the second time offered to the republican side the following, that we will bring this critically important vote to a measure before the united states senate for an up-or-down, clean up or down vote and a margin of 60 votes. 60 votes is the margin used for every major and i might add controversial measure before the senate. so what we're asking is not out of line, in fact, the republican side had supported the notion of a 60-vote margin until they didn't have 60 votes. now they're calling for some other approach. so here is what we face. this afternoon about 3:45 we'll have a roll call vote, it's on the procedural question of whether we end debate on one aspect of this issue, it's known as a cloture vote and we'll see how it turns out. but we have made a good faith offer to the republicans to finish this important debate and bring this to a 60-vote close. every single member of the
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senate on both sides of the aisle has announced publicly in advance where they stand on the issue. no one is trying to avoid this tough vote and it is a challenging vote. everyone is faced it squarely and honestly and that's where we should go. the republican side objected to this and we will face a procedural vote at 3:45. what is troubling we are in disarray now in congress. this statute that brings us to the floor of the united states senate, on the agreement, passed the senate with a vote of 98-1, a strong bipartisan agreement that this is how we would grove he approach it. this is what the senator from mcconnell is working off of, but look at what's happening across the rotunda. yesterday the house of representatives dissembled, to move to the same vote we are face being, they fell apart.
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the republican caucus was in disarray and now they are proposing not the underlying statute which we're considering but three brand-new different approaches to this. this is no way to run a congress. no way to run a serious foreign policy issue, one of the more serious issues of our time. my colleagues here are to speak and i'm going to yield the floor to them. i've spoken from time to time but i will say this. what we're trying to achieve here, we're not putting a seal of approval on iran and their conduct and their activity. that will never happen. instead what we are saying we have one goal in mind, shared by many nations around the world to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. that is the goal. i believe this agreement comes as close to achieving that as we can hope for at this moment. i wish it were stronger and better, but in the course of negotiation, we don't always
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get everything we want. but think of what happened here. we met in switzerland at the table with five other nations, china, russia, the united kingdom, germany, france and the european union i might add, to negotiate this agreement and walked away all nations involved in the negotiations saying this is a good agreement and should move forward. in addition to that we've had support from the security council of the united nations, over 100 countries have enforced this and yet it's been categorically rejected by the republicans in the house and the senate. the first phak stun was march of this year, while it was underway. 47 republican senators sent a letter to the supreme leader, the ayatollah, saying don't waste your time negotiating with the united states senate.
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-- the united states of america. this is the first time it's happened in the history of the united states. never. a i've asked historians to check it. never, have we sent a letter in the midst of negotiations saying don't pay attention to our president, to our nation, never happened before. 47 of them made it clear even before the agreement was reached that they were rejecting it. that doesn't show good faith. it doesn't show an effort to try to be objective and honest about this. well, here we stand today with the first procedural vote this afternoon. there are two things we want to achieve with this vote and with this agreement. number one, stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon and we do it. by shutting down the production for facilities, shutting down their centrifuges and sending scores of international inspectors roaming through iran during the entire pendens of
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this agreement looking for violations that trigger the sanctions would be incurred. secondly, to bring peace and stability as best we can when it comes to the nuclear issue to the middle east and particularly in support of our friend and ally, the nation of israel. i think the president's good-faith effort here reaches that goal. i support this and i'll be voting on the procedural side this afternoon to support the president's iran agreement. i yield the floor. mr. schumer: thank you. my dear friend and colleague -- the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: thank you, madam president. my friend and i have disagreed but he has -- i appreciate the way he has conducted himself through this entire debate. now, mr. president, every several years or so a legislator is called upon to cast a momentous vote in which the stakes are high, both sides of the issue feel very strongly
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about their views. such is the case with the joint comprehensive plan of action with iran. it demands reasoned and serious debate. over the years i have learned that the best way to treat big decisions is to study the issue carefully, hear the full explanation of those for and against, and then without regard to pressure, politics or party, make a decision based on the merits. that is what i did with the iran deal. i carefully studied the jcpoa, read and reread the annexes, learned from the proponents and opponents and studied the text of the agreement and after deep study and considerable soulsearching i announced i would oppose the agreement and votey on the motion of disapproval. now, while we've come to different conclusions, i want to give tremendous credit to
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president obama on on this issue. he and secretary kerry and their teams spent spain taking years pushing iran toward an agreement and years before us assembling the regime that brought us to the table in the first place. it was the farsightedness that brought us to the development of the massive ordinance penetrator, the mop, the antidote to a nuclear iran. regardless of how one feels about the agreement, all fair-minded americans should acknowledge the president's achievements in combating and containing iran. i also have a great deal of respect for the careful thought and deliberation of my colleagues went through before making their final decisions. while i came to a different conclusion than many in my own caucus, i recognize for them, that this is a vote of conscience just as it is for me.
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mr. president, i wish to recount my reasoning here on the floor before the vote is taken. i examined this deal in three parts. nuclear restrictions on iran in the first ten years, nuclear restrictions on iran after ten years, an nonnuclear components and consequences of the deal. and in each case i didn't ask what is the ideal agreement. we're not in that world. i asked are we better off with the agreement that we have before us or without. in the first ten years of the deal there are serious weaknesses in the agreement. first, inspections are not anywhere, any time, the potential delay of as many as 24 days before we can inspect undeclared suspicious sites is troubling. it is true that declared sites will be monitored. that is one of the post office of this deal -- positives of this deal. but if iran is going to cheat it will not be at a declared site. it will be at a nondesignated site and if iran is trying to
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cheat, it will certainly delay the inspection process as long as possible. even more troubling, is the fact that the u.s. cannot demand inspections unilaterally. we require the majority of the eight-member commission, assuming china and russia and iran will not cooperate, inspections would require the votes of all three european members of the p-5 plus 1 as well as the e.u. representative. it is a reasonable fear. once the europeans become entangled with iran, they may not want to rock the boat by voting to allow inspections. additionally, the snapback provisions of the agreements seem cumbersome and difficult to use. while the u.s. could snap back all sanctions, there will be instances where it's more appropriate to snap back some but not all of the sanctions. a partial snapback of the multilateral sanctions could be
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difficult to obtain because the u.s. would require cooperation of the other nations. if the u.s. insists on snap back of all provisions which it can do unilaterally, the europeans, russians or chinese might feel it is too severe of a punishment and not comply. while those who argue for the agreement issue it's better to have a partial agreement than a difficult one. however when you consider this part of the deal, better to have a snap back than nothing. but even f -- but even for this part of the agreement, the weaknesses with both of those proses make the argument less compelling. second, we must evaluate this -- how this deal would restrict iran's nuclear development after 10 years. in my view, in iran's true intent is to get a nuclear weapon, under this agreement, it simply must exercise patience. after 10 years it can be close to achieving that goal. iran would be stronger financially, better able to advance a robust nuclear
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program, and unlike its current unsanctioned pursuit of a nuclear weapon, iran's nuclear program would be codified in an agreement signed by the united states and other nations. finally, we must consider the nonnuclear elements of the agreement. this aspect of the deal gives me the most pause. for years, iran has used military force and terrorism to expand its influence in the middle east, activity supporting actions in yemen, iraq, and gaza. iran would receive at least $50 billion in the future and would undoubtedly use some of that known create even more trouble in the middle east and perhaps beyond. the hard-liners could use these funds to pursue an icbm as soon as sanctions are lifted. restrictions should have been
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put in place limiting how iran could use its new resources. using the proponents' overall standard, not whether the agreement is ideal but whether it is better to have it or not have it, it seems to me when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within 10 years, we might be better off -- we might be slightly better off with it. however, when it comes to nuclear aspects after 10 years and nonnuclear aspects, we would be better off without it. ultimately, in my view, whether one opposes or supports the resolution of disapproval depends on how one thinks iran will behave under this agreement, whether contact with the west and a decrease in economic and political isolation will soften iran's hard line positions, or whether the current autocratic regime use this deal as a way to get relif from onerous sanctions while
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still retaining their designs on nuclear arms. madam president, no one has a crystal ball. no one can tell withceptor which way iran -- with certainty which way iran will go. it's yo true. iron has a large number of -- iran has a large number of people who want to focus on economic advancement at home. but this desire has been evident for 35 years and yet iranian leaders have held a tight and undiminished grip on iran with little threat. who is to say that this same dictatorship will not prevail for another 10, 20, or 30 years? to me, the very real risk that iran will not moderate and will instead use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great. therefore, i will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because i believe war is a
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viable or desirable option nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. it is because it is far too likely that iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining nuclear and nonnuclear power. better to keep u.s. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce the secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be. for all these reasons, madam president, i believe the vote to disapprove is the right one. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? i yield 20 minutes to the senator from delaware. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. casey: i thank the democratic whip for yielding time to me.
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i want to thank him for his descreerd leadership on this issue. -- for his extraordinary leadership on this issue. i wapt to tak want to take a lia different approach to the serious matter that's before us today just to say in the first week or two of the august recess, i suspect some of my colleagues did but not all, i read a lot of the materials that relate to the agreement. after putting it down, my time wandered back to another time and place where there was an intense effort to end years of hostility and mistrust in the middle east. as governor of delaware and chairman of the national governors' association, i led a trade delegation in 1999 of business leaders, government leaders, and citizens mostly from delaware, many of them jewish, and we went to israel in that summer, 1999. we came looking to strengthen economic and cultural relations
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between delaware and israel. briefed by united states state department officials before departing on our mission, i also came looking for an opportunity to seize the day and change leadership in israel in order to try to negotiate the two-state solution that always seems just out of reach. those opportunities came sooner than i ever expected. surely, after we landed there -- shortly after we landed there, we were whisked off to a sprawling 4th of july celebration. among the guests were former general ehud barack who was about to become prime minister of the country, and benjamin netanyahu, the man he defeated. among other guests, the widow and daughter of yitzhak rabin,
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shimon peres, ariel sharon and a remarkable assembly of who's who in israel. i spoke briefly with ehud barak and with him later in his office after he assume his new duties as prime minister. the second conversation focused on the negotiations, the negotiations that lay ahead with yasser arafat shepherded by the clinton administration to try to reach a peace agreement once and for all with the palestinians. a delegation a few days later was in ramallah. over that meal i sat with arafat and shared with him the new prime minister's ernest desire to complete the work began by former prime minister rabin before his assassination. i urged arafat to set aside scwen reagan administrations of conflict and -- generations of conflict and distrust in an effort to find common ground
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with the israelis to provide greater security for israel and better relations for his neighbors in return for palestinian statehood. the conversation seemed to go well. back in the states a few days later i shared as much with the clinton administration. negotiations that ensued over the course of the next year ultimate lit presented arafat with the best land-for-peace proposal the palestinians would ever receive. in the end, they turned it down. i was later told that "arafat simply could not take yes for an answer." 16 years have passed since then, 16 years. another transformative opportunity has presented itself. this time to america and to our five negotiating partners -- the british, the french, the germans, the russians, the chinese, as well as the people of iran. we have a chance to ensure that
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the iranian hopes of developing a nuclear weapons program are put on the shelf for years, maybe forever. iranians have a chance to bring to an end the crippling sanctions that the coalition we lead has imposed on iran for years. the iranians have an opportunity -- another opportunity. that is to shed their status as a pariah among the nations of this world and assume a position worthy of their history and their culture. over the past two years i have had countless meetings with people from delaware and beyond our borders who fall on bone sides of this -- on both sides of this issue. some are vehemently opposed to any deal with iran and others believe we miss have a deal in order to a-- we must have a deal in order to avoid a war. came to support this agreement only after considering all of these points of view. reviewing the text of the deal again and again, hundreds of pages of additional documents and taking in dozens of briefings from experts on iran
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and nuclear proliferation. two years of negotiations have produced an agreement that israeli prime minister netanyahu and most of our republican colleagues denounced almost sns the ink was -- as soon as the ink was dry on it and well before they ever read it. they said that america should reject the deal and negotiate a better one. to that, let me just say, "good luck." last month, along with a number of other colleagues, i met here in washington with ambassadors and representatives of the five nations who were our negotiating partners. to a person, they argued persuasively i thought that this was a deal we should not reject. in fact, they urged us to learn from arafat's mistake and this time take "yes" for an answer. they're not the only ones who believe we should support this deal. dozens of their -- dozens of former israeli national security and military officials, including retired israeli navy
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admiral amid. spvment ayalon, the c.e.o. of the israeli meeting, the person in charge of the navy in the last decade. i'm an old navy guy, spent 23 years in the navy. i was interested in what he had to say when he came to my state. here's what he said, among other things, "the best possible -- the iran deal is, "the best possible alternative from israel's point of view, given the other available alternatives." now, look, he's one significant israeli leader who believes this is the right thing for israel. as it turns out, there are dozens -- actually scores of former israeli military leaders and intelligence leader whose agree with him. not all, but a lot. and we should listen to their voice. i have listened to him. those who think there are dangerous people in iran who want this deal so they can exploit it i remind them that the revolutionary guard is vehemently opposed it-to-this deal. a lot of people in delaware think that, well, the
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revolutionary guard, the hard-liners in iran, well, they're for t as it turns out, they're not, quite the opposite. here is a photograph of major general mohammed ally jafari, commander of iran's revolutionary guards. he said, "we'll never accept it." that's not exactly a voice of endorsement for this agreement. i think this is all the more reason that we should vigorouslien force this agreement -- vigorously enforce this agreement to make for years to come in order to ensure that the iranians comply with every element required of them by this deal. this deal blocks four pathways to a bomb. let me mention what they are. the iranian facility in in a tan blocked, the uranium facility at for dough blocked, weapons-grade proulx to enium blocked, covert attempts to make a bomb blocked.
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intrusive inspections. sanctions relief only after iran meets obligations. if they cheat, the economic sanctions, the harsh economic sanctions snap back. who can snap them back like that? we can. the united states and any of our negotiating partners as well. we don't need their concurrence. we can do it alone. iran currently has 10,000 kilograms of enriched uranium and nearly 20,000 centrifuges. that puts them months as way from a nuclear bomb. without a deal, it stays that way. without a deal, it stays that way. with a deal, that enriched uranium and stockpile must shrink to 300 kilograms and iran must cut their number of centrifuges by two-thirds. the ones they end up aren't the advanced centrifuges. they're actually the most elementary centrifuges. that blocks their pathway to a bomb, keeping them at least a year away to the next 10 years, later longer. our negotiators made the
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following points repeat i hadedly: if at the end of the day, the agreement is implemented, the iranians violate its provisions later on, we will know it. we will know it by virtue of our own intelligence, the intelligence of our partner nations and the intelligence of the realize as well. when it becomes apparent -- if it becomes apparent that the iranians have cheated, any six of our nations can reimplement the economic sanctions regime against iran, the same ones -- the same crippling sanctions that brought them to the table two years ago into this hard hard-fought agreement today. 35 years ago the united states imposed sanctions against iran that were largely unilateral. it was just us. and then we began ratcheting it up over time. unilateral sanctions by the u.s. were clearly a nuisance to iran, but they did not alone bring iran to the table. only sustained multilateral sanctions joined in by our five negotiating partners and others around the world succeeded in
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bringing iran to the table in the mood to talk. in fact, under the agreement that's been negotiated, if necessary, they could be be set up by the u.s. in their entirety, at our request, our request, if we're convinced the iranians are cheating. this agreement guarantees that if they're ever needed again, any of the six can trigger it again. the capabilities, we lose the support of the rest of the world in imposing sanctions in the event that a future government in iran elects to pursue a nuclear weapons program. i don't know about you, but that makes no sense to me, no sense. it also makes no sense to our negotiating partners. almost every american who is alive on 9/11 which we will commemorate tomorrow, remembers a horrifying images of that tragedy.
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to make matters worse, we had to endure the spectacle through the day and night of tens of thousands of arabs across the world taking to the streets to celebrate the death of thousands of americans. lost among those images, however, was the remarkable different gathering that took place at another nation. it took place in of all places tehran, the capital of iran. that night thousands of iranians gathered at a vigil, a candlelight vigil in solidarity with the united states. with the united states. most americans have no idea that ever happened. i've never forgotten it. a half dozen years later the iranian leader living with his family, an iranian ambassador to the u.n., we did not have relations with them, we still don't have an exchange of
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ambassadors but they had an ambassador to the u.n., who lives in new york city. the university of delaware -- not delaware, of denver as well. he spoke fluent english, winter mine. he was educated here as well. and pressed to that, i said to him why don't you come down to washington and meet our colleagues in the senate. he said the bush administration, the george w. administration wouldn't let us come. i said that's easy to fix. it wasn't easy to fix. they wouldn't relax their travel ban. so later i would ask in a conversation we had, this is
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when be a dina read, a figure tri, should be blown off the face of the earth, i said how do you get along with your president, be a zoney dad. he said not good. i'm not going to be here much longer. and he was right. the next time i reached out to him, he was gone. he was gone. seemingly without a trace, i found out years later he was recalled to tehran and to private life, writing, lecturing, largely out of sight. the final, he looked for who would replace him. a plan never heard of him. never thought he had a chance to run. he got to run, and not only did he run, but he won more votes
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than five candidates combined. and the question was would the supreme leader let him society. he did. what kind of cabinet would he put together, surround himself, as the leader of iran. and when he did, we're watching to see who would be minister of this or that over there, and he submitted the names to the parliament, his submission for foreign minister was my friend. sarif. could have knocked me over with a feather. never thought it would come. the man who had led the negotiations with our five negotiating partners the past two years is a man i've known a half dozen years or more. the negotiating team has been led by secretary of state john kerry, by his side, however, for much of the year has been the less well known secretary,
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secretary moniz, who has played a role among the talented team. dr. moniz has never sought electricitied office. i met him almost a decade ago at m.i.t., a professor in physics, and he testified one day at a field hearing about spent fuel and up came back and said what was he like, i said this guy moniz is a genius, and he is. turns out he's not just a genius, he led the national labs but people just as smart as he is, knows about all things nuclear and any other country in the world and turns out they were harnessed. led by moniz. as it turns out, ironically, among the graduate students at m.i.t. during his career there was a young iranian name aleah akbar salahi.
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and he would become dr. moniz's iranian counterpart in the negotiations with the u.s.-led team. saliiz's counterpart was moniz, one of his friends at m.i.t. and thus was created maybe not a bond but a connection and a shared trust that went back to one person that both m moniz at m.i.t. and a former graduate student trusted enormously. didn't take long for secretary moniz and his, after he joined the team this year to assemble the team known as the tutorial, a tutorial on all things nuclear, known that they, quote, had met their match. add noting moniz was a an act of
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genius. and he participated with men's and -- members and bolstered the team in ways that maybe no other american could do. much has been made of whether we can trust the iranians to do what they've committed to do. john kerry, dr. moniz and other members of our team say they have, have hammered out it is not based on trust. say it again. it is not based on trust. it is based on mistrust. we realize some future iranian regime may ponder whether to violate the agreement and launch another covert program for capabilities. that actually -- should they attempt to do that, will we know it? and why consequences are severe
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enough, are the consequences for iran severe enough to deter them from going forward with it. i am convinced the answer to both questions is yes. today, iran has much more than the hard-line revolutionary guard that whose influence has begun to wane. almost 70 million people, their average age is 25. most of them were not alive in 1979 when the iranian revolution. they don't remember the brutal shah we propped up for years and came to our country when his regime fell. this new generation of iranians are ready to take yes for an answer. i think we should, too. this is a good deal for america. and our allies. and that only proves america's greatest allies.
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that could beat the war with iran hands down. about a year and a half ago, up in new york and the house that senator durbin visited with me, we talked about the upcoming negotiations and we said zarif, you have a choice. you can have a strong, vibrant economy for your country again, or you can have a nuclear weapons program. you can not have both. you can not have both. and we're not going to accept a nuclear program. whether they cheat, they have the ability to right back in place the crippling sanctions, and if that doesn't do the job we have other -- other alternatives at our disposal, other alternatives at our disposal. nothing is off the table.
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sometimes around here we talk about voting our fears. of voting our hopes. i'm prepared to vote my hopes. i think the hopes for our nation and the iranians' as well. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i thank my colleague from delaware. that was a very thoughtful presentation and as he alluded to many times he has taken a personal interest and made a personal interest in this issue. i thank him for his insight. i now yield the time, 10 minutes to the senator from michigan. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. appearance: mr. peterson: i have voted i will oppose the resolution of disapproval despite the resolution. mr. peterson: i did not reach this easily or quickly. although there are many positive aspects to this deal, there are
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many whose flaws in the months and years ahead. mr. peters: the period has served a useful purpose. the people hundred-on my side of the aisle have raised important points about this deal and administration's negotiators. i commend senators cardin and corker for their bipartisan efforts to establish this review and for affirming congress' role in shaping our nation's foreign policy. after this debate is over, it is my hope that moving forward the senate will form a consensus and act with unity of purpose. we must work together and take action begins iran if they fail to live up to their obligations under this agreement and we must work on legislation and multinational and lateral efforts to combat iran's sponsorship of terrorist activities and hegemonic activities. we must look no further than the
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crisis with syria 0 to see the havoc that their proxies are wreaking on a troubled nation. we must work together to stem the provision of it through nuclear states and from iran in particular. nearly 20 countries produce safe, nuclear power without domestic enrichment. america's long-standing policy is that nuclear nonproliferation treaty does not provide for the right to enrich uranium. and while in the short term this helps reduce iran's capacity to enrich and fix the vast majority of their stockpile i am concerned that other nations will view this agreement as a precedent that will lead to proliferation and lead other nations to emerge as threshold nuclear states.
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just a few years ago the united states signed and ratified a 1-2-3 agreement that will help them build a capabilities without explicitly providing them uranium on their soil. the united states must take a leadership role in setting a threshold of acceptable levels of enrichment of uranium for the safe production of nuclear energy. as more nations look to meet growing energy needs while minimizeing carbon output, a comprehensive policy to ensure only safe levels of uranium enrichment with safeguards is critical to global security. no nation faces a more severe threat than iran's nuclear ambitions than the state of israel. for decades the regime has made it their mandate to eliminate the israeli state. we must make sure this never
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happens. we must to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and smuggling arms to proxies in the region. as the middle east falls deeper into chaos, our allies with israel, the nation that shares so many of our values, has never been more important. america must reaffirm our long-standing commitment to israel's security by renewing our memorandum of understanding, providing israel with upgraded defense capabilities to submit its qualitative edge in the region and bolster their edge to deterrence against iran. the jcpoa is not the end of our multilateral efforts against iran and its illicit behavior. america must work with our allies to ensure multilateral sanctions against iran for its terrorist activities particularly of hezbollah and hamas. we also must need to set clear
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understanding how it's will be prohibited from sanctions. we must continue working with coordinated fashion to ensure unity of purpose with their ambition, terrorist activities and destabilize the region. we must also work for pressing the release of all u.s. hostages currently imprisoned in iran including amir hekmati, congress must address these issues. in 2009, congress debated whether to pursue sanctions or diplomacy with iran first, with military force always being the last resort but a necessary final deterrent. i was proud to cosponsor the efforts of past sanctions in 200 and helped pass additional sanctions in the years since. a as new member of the senate, is joined a group of bipartisan senators ready to pass additional sanctions against
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iran as they continue to drag out negotiations. iran needed to know that the patience of the united states was not limitless. the jcpoa is a product of complex negotiations and painstaking compromise. but let's be clear. either rejecting or accepting this deal comes with a set of distinct risks. however, those who oppose this deal have been accused of supporting war over diplomacy, and those who support this deal have been likewise portrayed as supporting containment and capitulation. well, foreign policy is rarely so simple. and it is certainly not so simple in this case. as leaders of this great nation, we owe it to our citizens and the men and women in uniform to never let ourselves become so fractured by partisan politics on issues of such importance to
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national security. i look forward to working with senators on both sides of the aisle to protect the interests of our allies and the safety and security of this great nation to ensure that the united states of america remains both united in our goals and indivisible in our purpose. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president, i yield ten minutes to the senator from mainement. the presiding officer: the senator prosecute maine. the senator from maine. mr. king: i would ask unanimous consent for floor privileges for a fellow in my office. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. king: i want to talk about this arrangement and agreement with iran and cover several
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points and what i think are important realities that have not been emphasized in this debate. but first i want to address the issue of the 60-vote margin. first, i think it should be on the record that the minority leader offered to the majority leader a unanimous consent agreement that there would be no filibuster, no filibuster on the motion to proceed and there would be a 60-vote threshold required for final passage of the bill. as i understand it, that offer was rejected. that means the only alternative is the technical rule of the filibuster i. it is absolutely clear from the record of the corker-cardin bill that everyone involved in that discussion including the senator from tennessee understood that a 60-vote margin would be required in the passage of this legislation. there was just no question about it. there are quotes in the record.
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everyone dwhrood from the beginning of the consideration of the corker-cardin bill. finally, every major issue that's come before this body since i've been here has required 60 votes, whether it was immigration or background checks or extension of unemployment benefits or the minimum wage. all of those have required a 60-vote threshold. that has been the standard in this body. we could debate whether that should or should not be the standard, but it is; it has been, and this is not a time to decide that we're going to arbitrarily abandon that. and i must say, i'm sort of amazed to hear people discussing this, as if this is some kind of new imposition of a rule, and it reminds me of "casablanca," i'm shocked, shocked to understand there might be a 60-vote requirement on this piece of lels. that has bee-- legislation.
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that has been the standard in this body as long as i've been here. we can discuss whether that should be the standard but that's what it is and no one should be surprised that that is the way that we're proceeding here today. okay, let's talk about the agreement. five quick realities. number one, iran is a nuclear threshold state today. there is a lot of argument -- i sat through the long debate yesterday afternoon about what happens in 2030, what happens in 15 years, and would iran be somehow legitimatized nuclear threshold state? they are a nuclear threshold state today. the risk to the world is imminent. it is not in 15 years. it is today. and that's why this agreement is so important. because basically it freezes and rolls back iran's nuclear capabilities for at least the next 15 years and probably longer. number two reality: iran is a rogue nation. it foments terrorism around the
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world. it is a state sponsor of terrorism. everyone knows that. and under this agreement, as has been pointed out, because of the nature of the negotiations, which was roll back your nuclear program in exchange for relief from the sanctions, they will indeed receive relief from the sanctions. and that will give them additional funds for their economy and possibly for their nefarious purposes. but i would submit, madam president, that the only thing worse than a rogue iran is a rogue iran armed with nuclear weapons. and that is the essence of this deal. it prevents their opportunity to gain nuclear weapons, to create sufficient fissile material. it rolls back what they already have, and i should point out that they became a nuclear threshold state during the imposition of various sanctions
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regimes. so it's clear that sanctions in and of themselves are never going to prevent their achievement of become ago nuclear weapon state. number three, this is a multilateral agreement. all the discussion around here acts like it is the united states and iran, obama and the ayatollah. it indeed involves the world's major powers. it involves great britain, france, germany, china, russia, and other countries that have helped to enforce those sanctions and make them effective. if we walkway from this deal, we are doing so alone. we had an extraordinary meeting before the recess with ambassadors from the p-5 plus 1 countries. they made it clear that they had accepted this agreement, and that if we re-yecte rejected itr
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willingness to go back to the table, reinforce the sanctions -- i believe one of the ambassadors used the term "far-fetched." it is not going to happen. the sanctions are going to erode starting now, no matter what we do in this congress. and i can't figure out any way that a weaker sanctions regime, which is inevitable -- because other countries involved in the sanctions have already started to make moves towards doing business with iran -- i don't see how a weaker sanctions regime is ever going to bring iran back to the table to get us a better deal. reality number four: this agreement is flawed. it is not the agreement that i would prefer. there are elements of it that i wish could be improved. i wish 15 15 years was 20 or 30 years. but that's -- this is the
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agreement that is before us, and the analysis to not be strictly of the agreement itself and within its four corners but compared to what? that's really the basic question here, not is this a good deal or a bad deal. the question is how does this deal, no matter what its flaws, compare with the alternatives that are out there? and all of the drama and all of the argument and all of the speeches and rallies that we've heard, no one has yet come up with a credible alternative. i have not yet heard a credible alternative. the only thing i hear is, we'll reimpose sanctions and bring them back to the table and get a better deal. it's going to be very hard, madam president, to reimpose those sanctions without the support of our international partners. now, if we enter into the deal and iran cheats, then we can
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bring the international partners back with us. but to do so, to try to think that we could do so now is just unrealistic. i wish there was a better alternative. i also wish i could play tight end for the new england patriots, but it is not going to happen. it's simply not realistic. there is no credible alternative. finally, we have to talk about what happens after the deal. congress has a responsibility. the administration has a responsibility. we cannot trust iran. everyone knows that. no one argues that. and there's been a lot of discussion about the iaea. i serve on the intelligence committee. we had a briefing just yesterday morning with the heads of our intelligence agencies. it is not just the iaea that is going to be watching this agreement. it is the world's intelligence community.
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and we have significant capability to know if they're cheating over and above and in addition to anything that the iaea brings to the table. this is not trust. this is verification based upon the iaea's experience -- worldwide experience but also based upon the considerable intelligence assets of the united states and other countries that are supporting us in this effort. finally, there are risks, madam president. i understand that. there are risks on both sides. there are severe risks. this is not an easy call. it is one of the hardest decisions i've ever had to maifnlg but imake.but if you ane alternatives and weigh the risks, i believe that the risk of not going forward with this agreement are significantly greater than the risks of giving diplomacy a chance. going forward with this agreement, which can be
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verified, if there is cheating, it can be caught, number one, and punished, number two, and if the agreement doesn't work, we have the same options that we have today. this is a difficult decision, madam president. it is one that has weighed on this body and on this country, but i think this is a tremendous opportunity for us to avoid a nuclear-armed iran and secure at least that part of a peaceful middle east and more secure world. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presidinpresident?officer sm illinois. mr. durbin: meet me thank my colleague from maine for his presentation. i'd like to ask how much time is remaining. the presiding officer: seven minutes. mr. durbin: i am going to yield to the senator from ohio. i hope seven minutes is adequate. if not, i will ask unanimous consent to extend that and offer time to the other side, whatever is necessary. let me yield to my colleague
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from ohio. mr. brown: i thank you. madam president, i thank the assistant democratic leader. i rise in support of the international agreement designed to prevent iran to get a nuclear weapon. no one in this body trusts iran. nobody disputes that iran is a leading state sponsor of terrorism. it denies israel's right to exist, it destabilizes the middle east and violates the human right of its people. that's why we need to prevent a nuclear-armed iran, which would pose an exponentially greater danger to the security of the united states, to our longtime, important ally israel and to the entire world. this agreement is the only viable option, as senator king said. no one has answered the question, well, of the hundreds of calls i've made and the dozens and dozens of briefings and discussions i've had with people on both sides of the agreement, from israeli officials to american security people to activists, engaged
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citizens on both sides of this, nobody has answered the question, well, what do we do if we vote -- if this agreement is killed in the united states congress? what is the alternative? i'm incredibly proud of the diligent work my colleagues on - in the democratic kaw quo's have done in researching and questioning this deal. no knee-jerk reaction on our side where people all just went the same way almost immediately when the agreement came out. people on the democratic side of the aisle listened to experts, they listened to stakeholders, we came to thoughtful, informed decisions. i made my decision after serious study of the agreement's contents it, after listening to ohioans on all sides of this, after consulting with nuclear experts like the energy secretary and nobel-prize physicist secretary moniz. i attended hours of briefings from the president, the energy secretary, from treasury secretary lew, from secretary of
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state kerry, of other administration officials. i consulted u.s. intelligence officials, outside arms control experts, met with over an hour with israel's ambassador to the united states. i met with all five of the ambassadors of the p-5 plus 1 countries, those who have been longtime allies of us from france, england, and germany, those who are allies from time to time from china and from russia. allies on this issue, if not a number of others. all -- every one of them individually, collectively, warned that the united states -- it would be the united states which would be isolated internationally if congress rejected this agreement. my colleagues, many of my colleagues talk about iran's sponsorship of terrorism, it's human right right abuses, its pt of nuclear missiles. of course we'd although of to solve those issues. sanctions on
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those issues will remain in place but that was not the focus of this nuclear agreement. let's be clear. when i hear opponents say that iran 10, 15 years from now would be a threshold nuclear state. maybe they will, maybe they won't. that's certainly debatable. it's not debatable that iran have a threshold nuclear state now. they're two to three months from being able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. the agreement provides for comprehensive restrictions today, beginning today, beginning when congress allows this agreement to move forward, to block iran's pathway to a bomb. they include reducing iran's installed centrifuges by two-thirds for at least ten years, cutting its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98% for 15 years, reconfiguring its plutonium reactor to render it inoperable. for the first time the deal requires 24/7 access. the united nations inspectors
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will say that of the 120 country inspections they've done, this is the most comprehensive and most intrusive. the deal provides time-certain access to suspicious sites in iran. it's a permanent prohibition on iran requiring developing a nuclear weapon. it's a -- provides a permanent ban on nuclear weapons research. if iran violates the deal, the united states -- the agreement gives the united states extraordinary power to snap back both u.s. and international sanctions without fear of veto by other nations. the president made clear if 10 or 15 or 20 years from now iran tries to build a bomb, this agreement ensures the united states will have better, better tools to target it. americans strongly -- americans fundamentally don't want another war in the middle east. americans strongly prefer a diplomatic solution, which this agreement is all about, that
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ensures that iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon. at the beginning of my remarks, madam president, i spoke about the serious way with great gravitas that democrat after democrat after democratic senator, the serious way we pursued coming to a decision on this. let me contrast for a moment on this, one of the most significant national security issues congress will face in a generation. i've been in the house and senate for 20 years now. this will be the second, one of the two most important decisions i have made on foreign policy. the first was my vote against the war in iraq. it was clearly the right vote. overwhelming public support for it. the president and -- we know that the information we were presented wasn't exactly right in the end, even though huge support in congress, a lot of public support for going into war with iraq. i thought about that a lot. i made a decision that i thought the iraq war would be disastrous
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for our country. that decision clearly was right. it wasn't so partisan back then, although we had a president that certainly pushed us -- and a vice president especially that pushed us into that war. but this agreement should not be subject to the kinds of reflective partisan attacks we've seen in recent months. just a few months ago 47 of my republican colleagues signed a letter signaling their opposition to the emerging deal. not just that, they signed a letter to the ayatollah, to the leader of the enemy -- iran -- suggesting that it wasn't quite on the up and up because of the president of the united states. they signed a letter that was teaching the ayatollah, if you will, some american civic lessons. imagine, madam president, if democrats in the senate in the early 1980's had written a letter to president gorbachev saying don't negotiate with ronald reagan. imagine if we had done that. madam president, i ask for two minutes additional time, unanimous consent. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. imagine if that had happened. we start off with 47 republicans writing to the ayatollah saying fundamentally don't negotiate with president obama. we have seen, madam president, now not a single one of my colleagues is in support of this agreement even though secretary powell supports it, even though former senator lugar who is as respected as anybody in this country as a former republican senator. it's not just at this point not a single one of my republican colleagues, but the first day the agreement came out, i hear talk radio saying read the agreement, read the bill. the first day that this agreement came out, 19 republicans that first day came out in opposition to this agreement. there's no way they could have read it. i know how complicated this agreement is. i read it. i assume that every one of my democratic colleagues who in an arduous, focused, difficult, persistent way studied this issue. and then i see what happened on the other side of the aisle when it was, as timothy krause said
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as the press does in the boys in the bus, one of them flies off the telephone wire, they all fly off the telephone wire. that's what happened. i see senator corker here, one of the people who didn't sign that letter and one of the people who thought about this issue. but what i saw in the contrast the way we looked at it, it was pretty disturbing. madam president, i will conclude. my time is running out. this agreement will matter for our country. it's clearly in our national interest. i think there is no good -- there's been no good answer offered on what happens if we walk away. that's why this congress -- i ask my senators to vote "no" on the next vote coming in front of us. thank you. mr. corker: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i want to thank the senator for his comments. just so we know how we're organized on this side for the next hour, i think we're about evened up on the, maybe three minutes more needs to come our way. roughly even. and for the next 30 minutes we
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have senator coats, one of our outstanding foreign policy national security senators who served as an ambassador. 15 minutes to -- we have 30 minutes for senator coats, 15 minutes for senator grassley, and 15 minutes for senator roberts. i want to thank you so much for being here and your incredibly responsible way of facing this issue. mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: madam president, i want to thank my colleague, senator corker, for his diligent efforts that have consumed literally hundreds if not thousands of hours of that effort as chairman of the senate foreign relations committee in helping guide us through this very important process, very difficult process. i was on this floor earlier saying this is an issue that rises above partisan politics. this is something that each of us as a senator has to weigh
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carefully. i have spent i don't know how many hours and how much time reading through, parsing through, trying to analyze and understand this agreement, side annexes and everything connected with it. i would like to now state to my colleagues perhaps with an appeal that they at least, at the very least set aside this. the deal was done. you lost. therefore, we're not even going to allow a vote on this matter. this is one of the most historic, consequential measures that anyone in this chamber will ever be confronted with. i know for me it is the most because of of the historic consequences that may occur if we don't get this right. it's important that we debate this and have ample time to go through every bit of this and have each member of this weigh carefully what we hear from each other and what we come to understand on the basis of our own personal examination. and i hope that will be the
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case. to deny us the opportunity to even let our yes be yes or our no be no before the public i think would be a tragic mistake. i would like to just go back a little bit and talk about my history with all this. when i returned from my ambassadorship to germany and actually had to deal with this as one of many different issues, because even back then there was great concern among both the united states and the german government over iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. and i engaged in a number of discussions and diplomatic efforts there in working with our ally country germany on this issue. but when i did come back, and i suppose partly because of my engagement there, i was asked by the bipartisan policy committee that had just been formed to chair a task force on this very issue. iranians pursued -- the iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons. i obviously wanted this to be
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bipartisan, so i recruited my fellow senate colleague, chuck robb, then retired senator from virginia. and together we cochaired that. later we were joined by retired four-star general and deputy, supreme a lead commander in europe, chuck wall. and we put together a who's who of experts on the middle east, experts on nuclear capabilities. we had renowned experts from across the spectrum come and present to us. and we resulted -- all of that resulted in three major reports titled meeting the challenge: u.s. policy toward iranian nuclear development. the second one, meeting the challenge, time is running out. the third, meeting the challenge: when time runs out. there is a treasure trove of information here about how iran has violated u.n. treaty
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resolutions, violated the proliferation treaty agreement. we have talked about the consequences of all this and made recommendations to the administration, whatever administration that would be. as it turns out, these recommendations went both to a republican administration under president george w. bush and to an obama administration under our current president. clearly we had outlined in the interest of time i won't be able to go back through all of this. but let me just state a couple of the conclusions here relative to all this. absent necessary leverage, we believe it unlikely that supreme lured khomeini will reciprocate president obama's conciliatory gestures in a meaningful way. we talked about the -- first of
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all, we endorsed diplomacy to its ultimate, but we recognize that diplomacy has its limits. you can sit at a table and talk and not come to agreement for decades. and we had been trying the diplomatic efforts with iran and they weren't succeeding. then we talked about the necessity of having sanctions and ever ratcheting tightening sanctions to bring iran to the table. included in that was the threat of the use of force if all else failed. none of us on that committee were war mongers. we wanted to do everything possible to prevent conflict in this in solving this problem. so we laid out a long framework. perhaps if this continues into next week, i'll be able to go through some of this framework. but the key -- the key here on this is stated here somewhere in
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my -- the key to this -- we'll, i'll just state it by going through it. the key to all this was that you had to have a combination of tough diplomacy, which we had years of and we're going to continue that, backed up by ever ratcheting sanctions to show iran that there was a price to pay for not coming to agreement. and then backed up ultimately by the threat of force if we couldn't secure an agreement which would reach the goal. and the goal was to prevent iran from having nuclear weapon capability knowing the destabilization that would take place in the middle east and the historic cons quenses this would have if we allowed that to happen. now, let me move on to what i believe are major problems with
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this deal. we know that iran's misbehavior, its violation of six u.n. treaties that it agreed to, its violation of the nonproliferation treaty, its support for terrorism, it is a bad actor. perhaps the world's worst bad actor engaging in weaponization that killed american troops. we're not dealing -- we're dealing with a rogue nation here. and i don't know how my colleagues react to this, but when they cut a deal with the united states and they're cheering on the streets of tehran and the supreme leader comes out yesterday and basically says, well, don't worry, israel won't be around in the next 25 years, they'll be wiped off the map, we've already said death to israel. and also death to the great satan, united states. this is the party that we just
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negotiated an agreement with. now, if we had negotiated an agreement that achieved our goals, i would say good for us. i mean, we finally, the sanctions worked. we came up with a good agreement. but as i have read through this document, and parsed over every word and tried to find yemp meaning, and be over the annexes. i served on the senate intelligence committee. earlier i served on the armed services committee. i've had more of than a decade of experience in this. i was taking a weekend thoroughly reading this, i was achieved we had achieved most of the goals we had, but to my display we end -- dismay we had ended up none of the goals. our goal was to prevent iran from achieving a weapons capability, that would totally
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destabilize the middle east. what we've come up with an agreement that puts us on the path of doing just that, justified by the agreement, justified by the security council at the u.n. i said there were two major things that needed to be talked about before we talked about some of the specifics. first, the false claim that we must choose between accepting this failed agreement or war, and the second is that the agreement prevents iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. this is the sales pitch from the white house. this is the sales pitch being made to the american people. and neither of these is true. it has to be a desperate administration that has chosen to force this agreement on us by arguing this is a choice between this deal and war. i'm disgusted by the administration's sales strategy for this agreement. and those who are led down the
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primrose -- not primrose path, down the path of belief that the only option here is war and therefore no matter what we gave away, this deal is better than the alternative. the false choice is among the most infamous, cynical, and blatantly false manipulations the obama administration has used in an historic agreement and they should be ashamed of themselves for using this tactic. in fact, the false argument mavericks the far more valuable argument which is it makes future war far more likely, not less, because abandoning the tool of economic sanctions and giving away a strong, principled negotiating position the administration's desperate tactic is reducing our options when iran does go nuclear as we've put them on the path to do. president obama and secretary
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kerry have repeatedly said over the past year that no deal is better than a bad deal. they never argued that any deal is better than no deal but that is what they ended up conceding. we had the strength of six of the most powerful countries in the world,about the united states, great britain, france, germany, china, and russia, sitting at one side of the negotiating table. on the other side of the negotiating table was an iran crippled by sanctions. oil falling into the range of $40 a bear which cost them more to extract it than to sell it and get back. they were desperate to achieve some kind of relief from these sanctions. we had the negotiating leverage. we gave away that leverage in these negotiations, desperate to conclude any deal whatsoever so that we could avoid making some difficult decisions down the line in terms of what we had said we must do. four presidents including this
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president, two democrats, two republicans, said it is unacceptable for iran to achieve nuclear capability. we gave that away just to get them at the table. just to get them at the table we took off the use of any force, any leverage or additional sanctions or continuing the sanctions in order to get just to the table. not as a negotiating to get what we needed but to get to the table. the administration has accepted in my opinion a deeply flawed deal. then set it in motion with a u.n. security council resolution on the next day, well before congress could even respond to it. thank goodness senator corker and senator cardin were able to convince our colleagues on a 98- 1 vote that congress would have the right to say on this issue. had that not happened, the president by not declaring this a treaty, by declaring it as an executive agreement, the
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president would have locked this thing in before we even had a chance to read it. before the american people even had a chance to know what it was even before the president told them what it was or the secretary of state told them what it was. the we're having this debate thanks to these two men, two leaders, one republican and one democrat, who stood up to this president and say no, the american people deserve to have a say. and boy, what a say it is. i don't know about others, my mail is running 10-1 against this. maybe i'm imtalking to the wrong people i don't know but the more they learn about this agreement, the more they say are you crazy? you gave up that? for what? what did we get back? now, i want to go over some of that. i'm trying to move through this because i know -- i know time is of the essence here. but this idea that war is the only alternative. and then the sales pitch that
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i've heard so many of my colleagues and others who support the deal say, young i'm for this because this -- you know, this prevents iran from having a nuclear bomb. it's just the opposite. it gives iran the pathway to a nuclear bomb, has a sunset clause, it has a sunset clause that after 15 years they can do whatever they want to do. we can't reimpose sanctions. what kind of a deal is that? but the false narrative that this will not allow that, the agreement, even the annexes say we have to achieve -- help iran achieve nuclear research, nuclear research that can help them move toward this. i looked at the annex and said surely i'm reading this wrong. we are committed to help them,
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and if other nations, say, israel wants to take action against this because they think they will be extinguished from the face of the earth as the iranians have told them that's going to happen, want to take action, we actually are required to try to convince these israelis not to do that. we tied side with the iranians. i mean you can't write this script. this is beyond comprehension. so those two false narratives are what we all alone ought to be reason to say wait a minute, let's not go forward with this deal, surely we can find a way to negotiate a better deal for us. now, the committee, i want to read this, we looked at this very question. and this is what the conclusion. even if iran were to honor all
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of its obligations and fully comply with all the restrictions in the agreement, jcpoa, the deal would not prevent a nuclear iran indefinitely, starting in year 13, iran would be able to break out, produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon in 10 weeks, down from one year. in year 16, they would have the capability and the breakout time in less than three weeks. that was the conclusion. not of republicans, that was the conclusions of a bipartisan bipartisan, nonpartisan group of experts, chaired by a republican, former senator at the time, and a democrat, former senator at the time. and what we have said actually is has come true. the sunset clause should be by itself be enough to persuade hopefully a majority of us to reject this deal. it just doesn't make sense. you know, if president bush in
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2001 had presented to the american people this same deal with iran, and secured the votes to pass this deal, today iran would be having breakout, unrestricted breakout, assisted by the agreement, and we're going to call that a diplomatic victory? 15 years is going to go by very fast. they'll have breakout capability much before that and easily declare we've breached the agreement and go forward. and they'll have well over $100 billion to use to achieve that effort. they will have sanctions relief, total sanctions relief, they'll able to export all of the oil they want and iran wins. now, there are some particular problems with this.
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and they've been listed by people on the right, charles krauthammer, on the left at least in the middle, david brooks of "the new york times," not exactly a republican rag, and david brooks, not exactly a far right-winger, saying every single major goal that we had going into this agreement has been given away in a desperate attempt to achieve any agreement so that we don't have to deal with this -- this what we have to deal with can be pushed down the road. so on that basis i went through the agreement and looked at some of these areas and would like to identify and for the record those that we had the leverage to achieve, a goal, stated goal by the administration, and
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by the others negotiating, to achieve, and we caved on every one of them. every one. first, verification of inspections. most people understand that any time, anywhere means any time, anywhere. actually now it means, well, at a minimum of 24 days if iran agrees with us initially we should go through this, a convoluted process in which iran helps make the decisions, like giving tom brady and the patriots the right to determine if the footballs were inflated. i'm from indiana and that's a biased statement. but just to simplify it for people, if you have an adversary that you don't trust, and you want to have an ability to find out if what they say or do is true, you don't say go
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ahead and check it yourself and then tell me what you think. and we'll take that for an answer. so talk about caving, any time, anywhere on inspections, the -- the administration also argued this principle of short notice and the secretary -- secretary kerry when asked at one of our meetings here, basically said no, i think i've got the quote here, we never pursued such a goal. and indeed we never heard of it. i, along with every one of us here was relieved when the administration announced, i don't know if i was secretary kerry were obvious of the team of supporters, announced inspections any time, anywhere. we said, oh, okay, at least we have that. now we learned no american can be part of the inspection team, and we learned that in the u.n.
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independent agency that will do the inspections and now we've learned that there are off-limits to military and form er weapons manufacturing and research facility that we're not even allowed to inspect. so anywhere, any time has become a farce. and how can you possibly -- that in and of itself would be reason not to vote for this agreement. how do you go home and explain to people any time, anywhere, is a scrubbed version of 24 days at a minimum as long as iran agrees. it doesn't take somebody with a ph.d. or a law degree or even a senator or a congressman who has delved some into these issues for people to say are you nuts? who would sign an agreement like that? uranium enrichment, we caved there. and then talk about, you know,
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one of the key witnesses -- weaknesses is the agreement that the centrifuges are to be disconnected and only stored feet from their original positions. they can be reintroduced into the system when the details occur to quickly achieve nuclear capability. this is some of the involved stuff but the bottom line is, almost every thing is in dispute by experts who understand this, technical application of all this, and they're not persuaded by the misleading leadership coming out of the administration. once again another cave. and fordow. fordow is a place where some nuclear technology pursuit was being undertaken and we wanted to be able to shut that down. but the iranians said, no, no,
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no, don't think so. so we said, okay. let's cave on that. let's move on to something else. the same applied to military -- undisdisclosed military. so secretary kerry explained his new position now. he no longer was fixated on the past. that was something we talked about months ago. i'm not fixated on that anymore. keep for dougkeep fordow open. what's next? okay. sanctions relief. this agreement does not generally relieve sanctions pressure, as originally intended, but rather abandons the sanctions regimes entirely all at once. indeed, the multilateral captionsanctions are already go. european nations and others are flocking into tehran to sign long-term agreements that will never be subject to sanctions if
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they're -- quote -- "snapped back." we lost again. and so the reimposition of sanctions, if we find out that something is wrong here, it's a farce. i talked about snapback here. i'm going to move forward on that. this is one i mentioned before, but i still can't comprehend it. the deal obligates the p-5 plus 1 -- that's the six of us, the six nations that negotiated -- obligates us to actually help iran build up its nuclear infrastructure during the 15 years before they achieve a three-week breakout. so we're actually helping them construct their nuclear infrastructure, which then can easily be converted to breaking out for a nuclear weapon. and in return for altering their
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timetable for nuclear industrial development, the iranians secure not just international acceptance of that activity but actually assistance in pursuing it. that's incredible. we're actually helping iran get to the bomb? and as we hear from some of our colleagues who support the agreement, i'm voting for this because this prevents iran from getting a bomb ... read the agreement. it is not fun to read. but it is alarming to read. i was in the senate in the 1990's, and the negotiations -- actually, wendy sherman, who negotiated -- principal negotiator along with senator kerry on this agreement was principal on the north korean agreements. and i remember being told on this floor by the president of the united states and through the president of the united states -- then president clinton
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and his secretary of states and others -- don't worry; we have total verification procedures in place. if they make a -- if they cheat on us, we're going to know t and when we know it, we're going to stop it. well, here it is 2015, north korea has somewhere between 20 and 40 nuclear weapons sitting on top of ballistic missiles, and we didn't know it. so that makes me a skeptic going into the thing because it's like deja vu here. it's like being told the same sort of thing. don't worry, we'll know if they cheat. we'll be able to do something to stop them. this is the assurance that this is a good deal, so that's a hard sell for me. it's a no sell for me, because i didn't end up voting for that, because i had some real suspicions about whether or not that would take place. but actually that ought to be a lesson for all of us here that
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something that is promised by the president of the united states and his secretary of state and his negotiating team won't necessarily be -- come true and be the case. and so the promises that have been made about what this agreement is and what it isn't and what we'll be able to do, i measure those the way -- you know, it didn't work that we wilwellwith north korea, and yee same negotiators negotiated on this. i have a lot more i would like to say. i am going to try to move to a couple of last things here. you know, some prominent people have been stated -- noted here as favoring the deal. well, i think henry kissinger is someone that probably has the experience at the age of 90-some
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years, a lifetime in diplomacy and i don't have to give his credentials, and george schultz also have some credibility on this. if you want to listen to one side, you ought to listen to the other. "previous thinking on nuclear strategy assumed the existence of stable state actors. how will these doctrines drains late into a region where sponsorship of non-state proxies is common? the state structure is under assault and death on behalf of jihad is a kind of fulfillment?" sadly, their views have been largely ignored and not mentioned by anybody else. so if they are going to mention their guys, we're going to mention our guys. look, the lasted thing i want to say here before i conclude is there hasn't been much discussion about the consequences, which i think should be a core issue,
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consequences for israel, our only democratic ally in the region. prime minister netanyahu is here. he spoke to a joint assembly of congress. he received standing ovations for standing tall and standing hard and saying the very future, existence of my nation is at risk here. and he made the point that a bad deal i is not better than no de. that no deal -- a bad deal could be worse than no deal and that there were ways around this. and we cannot ignore the major risks that iran will follow through with their often-repeated threats of obliterating the state of israel, a threat that was just repeated by the supreme leader yesterday. in conclusion, i would ask one minute for -- to conclude here. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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mr. coats: the risks are not adequately acknowledged and not effectively addressed. i cannot support this agreement. i cannot approve the misguided dedes epizootiesmisguidedesperar those who turn add blind eye to its failings because of the appeal of party discipline nor those who have fall fallen prey to the obama administration's deal prior to congress having any say in this. when i read about the gloating, the boastful joy in tehran -- in tehran, their capital, that all their needs were met and that none of their red lines were crossed, i despair. i despair because this adventure has been a failure of vision, a failure of will, and an historic
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failure of leadership. and i fear that these failures will lead to great suffering. we have seen this before. peace at any price is not peace. peace at any price is sometimes -- sometimes leads to tragic consequences. in the last century we saw the loss of tens of millions of lives because the goal was to seek peace at any price. we cannot make that mistake again. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mada again, madam president, thank you very much for your impassioned comments on your concern for this agreement. i know senator brown ran over. if i could ask how much time we have on our side? i'd think maybe we'd go to 1:04 at least or something like that. the presiding officer: 28 minutes for the majority. mr. corker: i know y'all each asked for 15. if we could maybe consider 14
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each so it's equally divided. senator roberts will enjoy that. this will be equally divided between our distinguished senator grassley and senator roberts and i thank you for letting me intervene and thank you both for being here. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: of course this is a critically important debate on a nuclear deal that's going to have long-lasting impact on our national security and the security of our friends and our allies. this debate is a happening because 98 senators expressed the desire to have a say on this agreement. this process will allow the american people to speak through their elected representatives, and i can say the american people overwhelmingly oppose this agreement. new public opinion polls released in just the last few days indicate that americans in
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general are opposed to this deal by a margin of 2-1. only 21% support it. i participated in meetings with constituents in 25 of iowa's 99 counties during the august work period. the message i received was overwhelmingly in opposition to this agreement. that's the same message i'm hearing from iowans who have written or called since the agreement was announced in july. after many weeks of studying the terms of the iranian deal, also hearing from experts and attending classified briefings and engaging in dialogue with my constituents, my initial skepticism has been confirmed. i've come to the conclusion that this agreement presented to us is a bad deal that will not increase our national security or the security of our friends and allies and it then should be
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rejected. the united states began the negotiations from a position of very real strength. the international sanctions were obviously hurting iran, and iran wanted out from under those sanctions. the sanction regime that congress put in place over the objections of president obama drove iran to the negotiating table. the administration leading up to negotiations and throughout the entire process outlined the conditions for a good deal. president obama and secretary kerry both made important statements about the goals of the negotiations. the goal was, of course, to dismantle iran's nuclear program.
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secretary kerry himself said in the fall of 2013 that iran has no right to enrich and that a good deal with iran would -- quote -- "help iran dismantle its nuclear program" -- end of quote. now, despite all of these assurances that the negotiations would include anytime, anywhere inspections, the deal falls real short. president obama then negotiated a way froaway from these positir the course of these negotiations. this agreement accepts and legitimatizes iran as a nuclear threshold state. iran will not dismantle many important parts of its uranium enrich.
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infrastructure contra-to policies that iran not be allowed to enrich, and iran also is permitted to continue a vast research and development program. many of the significant limitations expire after 10 short years, leaving iran an internationally legitimate nuclear program. iran could fully abide by this deal and be a nuclear threshold state, contrary to what we were promised by this administration, the initial goals that were announced by the president. now, with respect to inspectio inspections, international inspectors have not -- will not have anytime, anywhere access. they will have what's termed "managed access." in fact, the deal provides iran with a 24-day process to further
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delay, and you know what will happen -- hide prohibited activities. iran has a track record of cheating, or choice i couldn't say those things. they've cheated on past agreements. this deal allows iran to stonewall the inspectors for up to 24 days. the agreement also includes side agreements between iran and the international atomic energy agency that we can't review, and even the administration has not seen them. and people in this country expect us to read before we vote. and, of course, we can read the agreement, but you can't read side agreements that the law requires be given to the congress to read under this special law, and so we're going to be voting on things that we
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haven't seen and the law says we should see. the iran nuclear agreement review act, which passed the senate 98-1, requires the administration to provide to congress access to all -- quote -- "annexes, ape aappendixes, se agreements, implementing material, documents documents ie angs, technical and otherwise, understandings and any related agreements" -- end of quote -- as part of our agreement with the president. it seems in this case we're being asked to put our faith in the iranian regime to not cheat, contrary to what we know about them. iran has not provided details on the past military dimensions of its nuclear program, even though the u.s. position was, very
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simply, that iran had to come clean about that history before any sanction relief. it's critical for robust verification regime to work that the international atomic energy agency have a full accounting of iran's past efforts and stockpiles. yet it appears that iran will be allowed to supervise itself by conducting its own inspections and collect samples from the secretive military facilitie fas where much of the military dimensions of its nuclear program have been carried out. i also oppose the last-minute decision to lift the embargo on conventional arms and ballistic missiles. this is what general martin
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devidempsey testified before the senate armed services committee in july, that -- quote -- "we should under no circumstances relieve pressure on iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking." end of quote. so they didn't listen to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. so under this agreement, after just five years, the conventional arms embargo will be lifted. after just eight years, the ballistic missile embargo will be lifted. iran has long sought the technology to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles which would be a direct threat to the united states and our allies. and iran's past arms trafficking to the hezbollah, hamas and
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other terrorist organizations has long threatened the state of israel. other middle eastern allies as well and it, of course, threatens stability very much so in the region. once iran has complied with the initial restraint on its nuclear program, many sanctions will be lifted. this will release somewheres around $100 billion of frozen iranian assets. the lifting of sanctions and release of the funds will only exacerbate iran's support for terror, tradition of terror with iran having access to tens of billions of frozen assets, bolstering its conventional military and further supporting global terrorism.
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even obama administration officials have said that iran is likely to use some of the funds to purchase weapons and fund terrorism that would threaten americans and israelis. now, isn't that something? for this administration negotiating an agreement where it's assumed that we're going to give them further resources to support efforts to kill americans and western europeans? the concept of snapping back is another issue that's been discussed. these sanctions also appear less effective on the issue of snapping back than originally claimed. the complicated process to reimpose sanctions is unlikely to work even if iran fails to comply with the agreement. iran views snapback sanctions as grounds to walk away from the agreement, so any effort to
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reimpose sanctions will be regarded by all parties as whether or not to dissolve the agreement and impose sanctions. i support a robust diplomatic effort that will prevent iran from developing nuclear weapon capability, but i also strongly disagree with proponents of this agreement who argue that the only alternative to this is war. that, of course, is a false choice and intellectually dishonest. iran came to the negotiating table because it desperately sought sanction relief. if this deal were rejected, we could impose even tougher sanctions, allowing our diplomats to negotiate a better deal that would more adequately safeguard our nation's security interests and that of our allies. a better deal would not le get
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my iran as a nuclear threshold state. it would not trade massive sanction relief for limited, temporary constraints. and it would not provide concessions that will trigger a regional nuclear arms race. it will reject this deal -- if we reject this deal, we would push for an international agreement that would truly dismantle iran's nuclear program and verifiably prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. a better deal would not ignore iran's past bad behavior. iran has for many years been the most active state sponsor of terrorism. iran has an egregious record of human rights violations and the persecution of religious minorities. it continues to imprison u.s. citizens. at least 500 u.s. military deaths in iraq and afghanistan are directly linked to iran and
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its support for anti-american militants. this agreement will free up tens of billions of dollars of these frozen iranian assets without addressing any of these issues. we know iran will use some of that money to support terrorist activities throughout the middle east and those are extended into the united states and western europe. iran provides support for the brutal assad regime in syria, the houthi rebels in yemen and provides weapons and funding for hamas and hezbollah. this deal happens to be the result -- this deal appears to be the result of desperation on our side for a deal -- any deal -- and the iranians knew that and took advantage of -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. grassley: i can't even finish one more page, huh? i'll put it in the record.
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thank you for your consideration. mr. grassley: well, the deal is a result of president obama's philosophy of leading from behind. as a result of this philosophy, we now have enemies who don't fear us and friends and allies who don't follow us because they question our credibility and they question our leadership. we have a more dangerous world because of it. president obama himself said that it's better to have no deal than a bad deal. this deal has far too many shortcomings and will fail to make america or our allies safer. it will not prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons while providing a windfall that will allow them to ramp up their bad behavior. so, as obviously you know, i oppose this deal and i hope we can send a signal to the administration and iran that we
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need a deal that improves our national security and the security of our friends and allies and responds to the common sense of the american people, who through the polls, have shown that they know this to be a bad deal. i yield the floor. mr. roberts: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: madam president, we all come here to make a difference and we have on the floor two senators who have done just that. senator corker, his counterpart on the democrat side, who is a good friend of mine -- both are good friends. history will note in salutary terms what both of you have contributed in regards to leadership, perseverance and trying to make a better situation -- or a pretty bad situation much better. i thank you for that. madam president, i rise today concerned, disheartened and fearful about the vote, or to be more accurate, not even having a vote regarding the issue before us that affects our national
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security and that of others worldwide. we have before us the joint comprehensive plan of action, an executive agreement whose original goal was to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear nuclear-armed state. in keeping with our constitutional responsibility and senate tradition, what we should have before us is a treaty but we do not. were the senate taking up a treaty, we could be having a debate on rational, commonsense and effective amendments that would protect our country and reduce the flames of turmoil in the middle east and in europe. but we are not. we are voting on a resolution of disapproval and we may well end up voting not to vote at all, a probability i find inexplicable and outrageous. in the senate's 226-year history, it has taken up almost 1,900 treaties and only rejected 22, many of which have dealt
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with subjects of much less consequence. i deeply regret the administration would not even consider the senate allowing a vote on this crucial foreign policy and national security issue as a treaty. and during debate on the iran nuclear review act in april, i voted in favor of senator johnson's amendment to do just that. we had the opportunity, the senate failed to seize it. i believe this agreement to be deeply flawed and our failure to truly debate and fix what is in it represents an abrogation of our responsibilities. this in the face of an agreement , or a deal, that is already adversely affecting the daily lives and well-being of individuals all around the world , refugees throughout the middle east recognize the united states is yielding both power and persuasion to iran and they are fleeing for their lives. as if failure to consider this agreement is not enough, now consider the fact that there are
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those in this distinguished body who will try to block cloture and in doing so prevent even a simple "yes" or "no" vote on the resolution. talk about an upside-down, "alice in wonderland" exercise. the senate has already voted 98-2, madam president, to have a vote and yet we stand here today ready to abrogate that vote. so, my colleagues, what are we doing? we are simply debating a flawed agreement submitted to us by the president. we are not amending or voting on the agreement at all. we're just debating. the path with which we take today, a detour into a box canyon, achieving nothing, has been forced upon us by the very same people who made the senate swallow the nuclear option. where on earth has the senate gone? well, the president has been breaking arms and political legs urging my colleagues to use senate procedure and deny
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senators the right to vote. it's pretty simple. the president doesn't want the senate to vote "no" on what he considers his foreign policy legacy. however, on occasion, the senate has put partisanship aside and debated issues of deep conviction and diverging opinions. this should be one of those times. but it is not. we should find a path forward that enables bipartisan accord as a legislative body but that path always starts when respect trumps partisanship. i regret that is not today. not this week. not this issue. not this president. given the fact that we are where we are, i think it is imperative we fully understand how iran interprets this agreement. the shoe is on the iranian foot and judging by the statements of
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their leaders, they believe it fits just fine. now, we have heard in detail from secretary kerry, we have heard from and been lectured by the president, but members should also know what iranian president hasan rouhani and the supreme leader, ali khamenei told the iranian people after the deal was finalized. the difference is both pertinent and remarkable. speaking before his constituency, his people in tehran, president rue wean perfectly articulated where the u.s. began the so-called negotiations and where the u.s. made enormous concessions. according to him, we did not negotiate at all. we conceded. mr. president, i -- madam president, pardon me, it is a paradox of enormous irony that in order to know the truth about this agreement, highly praised by this administration, well received by a determined minority in the senate, to learn
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the unfortunate truth about who negotiated and who conceded, we have to read and understand the remarks of president rouhani of iran to get the full picture. rouhani said in the beginning the u.s. capped the number of centrifuges to only 100. today iran is allowed 6,000. where original restriction and oversight were set for 20 years, today it is eight. with regards to research and development, the u.s. abandoned any systems for developing or enriching uranium. instead, iran is free for develop centrifuges to the highest level they desire, the ir-. the administration placed a red line on heavy water production at the iraq facility. today the reactor will continue operating and produce heavy water. today they are virtually nonexistent. soon iran will receive the windfall of $150 billion to use for what it wishes, read
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terrorism,. of greatest importance is what happened to the regime. this administration said any time, anywhere. but walked away holding the key to hold who and where the inspectors gain access. it's not what we know or believe, rather it is what iran believes and their supreme leader, their remarks not only put into absolute focus what the iranian government understands as their responsibility in regards to this agreement, but it also puts into perspective which side demanded and which side conceded. now, the administration will argue president rouhani's statements is just for the public, they want to claim to become a stabilizing influence in the middle east. sure, tell that to israel. but the question remains, are we voting on an agreement or are
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we voting on concessions? according to president rue rouhani, it is the latter. and according to president rouhani, it is one thing but the vows of the ayatollah are another. his speech punctuated by cheers death to america, death to israel, vowed that regardless of the deal's approval or not that iran would never stop supporting their friends in palestine, yemen, or syria or lebanon. exact places they had been backing terrorist organizations that led to its listing as a sponsor of terrorist organizations by the state department. this what about the ones that will never be revealed? the claims by the international acomic energy agency. today all senators should be grateful concerned about these negotiations and agreements. do we have access?
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no. do we have information? no. do we have transparency? no. do we know what the processes will be allowed? no. well, mr. president, actually we do. under the agreement dispute resolution, mechanisms this agreement sets up a tortured path that does not just involve the publicized 24-day waiting period. after the 24 days, any dispute will be referred to a joint commission at which there will be a 15-day waiting period. then it would be referred to the ministers of foreign affairs with 15-day waiting period. and finally the dispute would end up before an advisory board with you guessed it, another 15-day waiting period. all of this, of course, can be delayed if the parties agree on an extension which they will. instead of resolution, we have an unending series of switchbacks to get to the top of
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a mountain which, in fact, we will never see. the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. we have tried iaea inspections with iran before and they failed miserably. it seems nothing short of insane to think we can trust iran today. this deal does more than give iran the power to avoid inspections. it gives iran the ability to remain unaccountable and rogue. this is not just about what this body or the american people thinks of an agreement with iran. this is also very much about what the iranians think we have and will accept. i worry that we are looking at this so-called agreement through rose-colored glasses, mr. president. based on hope, and the misguided idea that any deal is better than no deal because the alternative is war. why do i say rose-colored
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glasses? it is because civilized nations, nations like america, nations in europe, we naturally want to believe disaster and chaos will not happen. but, unfortunately, they do. 14 years ago tomorrow, while heading into work, i heard the news of the world trade center being attacked and my heart fell and my stomach churned. because as a member of the senate intelligence committee at that time i had been repeating over and over again that the oceans no longer protected us and the warfare is dramatically changing. during the time the attacks come up on 395 i could see black smoke billowing from the pentagon and i knew, i knew that the capital would be next. if it were not for the heroes of flight 93, who made the declaration let's roll a national rallying cry, the can
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capitol would have been hit. the probability is i would not be making these remarks today had that happened. now, mr. president, my colleagues, everybody watching, close your eyes. close your eyes. imagine the terrible ramifications had that plane hit the capitol. where we sit today would have been rubble. now, imagine that happening tomorrow. throughout our history periods of peace, stability and prosperity have, unfortunately, been an be a bore ration, not the norm. we have learned the hard way as americans have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout our history. around the world we have witnessed man's inhumanity to man, the holocaust, cambodia, and iowa and now islamic state and caliphate indiscriminating against all those who do not subscribe to their sharia law
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and our best ally in the region, israel. and our best hope, our optimism and the siren song it can't happen, i would only remind you that history tells us that it has happened and it will happen again. unless, mr. president, unless we have the courage to take off the rose-colored glasses and come to the realization with regards to the consequences of what we are doing or more aptly put, who we are dealing with. we are dealing with a state sponsor of terrorism. iran will become a nuclear armed state. as we mark the 14th anniversary of the horrific loss of 3,000 americans on not 9/11, 2001, i want to make it clear i do not trust iran, i will never support concessions which allow them to become a nuclear armed state. it is my hope to vote yes on the
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resolution of disapproval as my good friend and colleague senator cornyn emphasizeed yesterday. every senator here should have -- the presiding officer: the majority's time has expired. mr. roberts: i ask unanimous consent for 30 seconds. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: every senator here should have the opportunity to vote on this issue given the irony that iran's leadership has given that power and privilege to its own parliament. at least, mr. president, at least my colleagues, at least give me and others the privilege today as a senator to cast the most important vote of my 35 years and he in public service. i yield back my time. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i stand now, we have 60 minutes under the democrat control. i would ask consent up to 30
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minutes be available to senator merkley, up to seven by senator manchin, up to six minutes for senator donnelly, 18 minutes for franken, eight minutes for hirono and eight for senator markey. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: the president and every member of congress stand united in our effort to block iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. the question we are debating is whether the pathway that is best for ensuring that outcome, is it the international agreement negotiated between iran and the p-5 plus 1 nations or is there some other route that yields better probability and better outcome. that is the issue were considering and over the last month i have explored the
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argument and counterarmy, met with experts, advocates and the ambassadors of our partner nations. i've sought and received the counsel of oregonians on both sides of this issue. taking all of this into account, this deal is the best of available strategies for blocking iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. the plan's strength is that for 15 years it creates a framework for blocking iran other's three pathways. the iranian path and the uranium path and the covert path. it dismantles two-thirds of centrifuges, importantly the stockpile of uranium and enrichment of uranium to 3.6%, far below that required for a nuclear weapon. it blocks iran eye plutonium -- iran's plutonium and fill it
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with concrete and any creative to nonweapon plutonium. an agreement that blocks a covert path by inspections and monitoring. this includes on-site inspections anywhere in violation is suspected, and procedures put in place to prevent iran from stalling these inspections including maximum number of days for access and to ensure we can detect any rate yes active materials. the result attested to by nonproliferation experts is it is very likely that any future effort by iran to pursue nuclear weapons even in a clandestine program would be detected promptly. but as many pointed out the
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agreement is not without shortcomings. it is not sustained the current u.n. ban on conventional articles. it can meet missile technology after ten years. it does not detect how it sends the cash unfrozen and puts blinds, lifting the 300-kilogram spock pile and enrichment limit. these are troubling. it is possible, perhaps probable that iran will use some of that additional cash and access to conventional arms to arm terrorist groups. it is possible it will have a nuclear program as a foundation for nuclear weapons. that is a substantial concern. and for this reason many have come to this floor and argued the united states instead of
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implementing should withdraw it and negotiate a better deal. the prospects for that, however, are slim. our p-5 plus 1 partners and i've met with the ambassadors, they believe that this is the best path, the best opportunity to prevent iran from nuclear acquiring and will sign on with or without the united states as long as iran does as well. and if iran has every reason to fulfill this because it lifts the sanctions and provides the trade for partnerships. if iran were to follow this course it would obtain benefits while leaving united states in and undermined and tragic and consequences throughout a large spectrum. on the other hand if iran
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rejects this by the united states, our country then is the one that stands in the pathway of potential diplomatic solution to this incredibly important international security issue. it would be the u.s. blocking a plan with high confidence of stopping iran from acquiring a bomb, a nuclear bomb. and furthermore, the international support for economic sanctions would fray, would sum up without the burden of intrucive inspections. in short this course would both shatter diplomacy, impact and diminish american leadership, and shred our economic leverage, increasing reliance on one left overtool, or at the same time dramatic diminishing our impact on the provision. and more reliance and less
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confidence would be a dangerous combination. the most effective strategy for blocking iran's access to a bomb is is utilizing this agreement and american participation to hold iran's strictly accountability not through 15 years but through the next decades that follow, where iran is still completely constrained by its commitment to never develop a nuclear weapon. after 15 years, iran will be subject to the deal's requirement that it never -- quote -- "seek, requirement any nuclear weapons and iran will be subject to continuing intensive monitoring verification by the iaea. but we, the united states, can greatly strengthen this framework. the u.s. should use the framework to back up the program in the 15 years and the iaea in
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the next -- after the 15 years. it should use the boundary following the nuclear -- a nuclear research program and a nuclear energy program versus a weapons program. did commitment that has to be refined is participation in the agreement that the united states can ensure that the united states community sustains a clear line and enforces. the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. mr. merkley: i ask i ask unanimous consent for 30 more eric seconds. the future whether we approve or reject this deal is unknowable and carries risk. but this agreement with its verification, with full u.s. participation, offers the best prospect for stopping iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon at any point here forward. and for that reason i will support it. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: when i go home to my beautiful stay of west virginia if i can't explain it, i can't vote for it. when this process began, i was supportive of the diplomatic efforts by secretaries kerry and moniz. to be a superpower, you must engage in diplomacy. when i'm able i would choose it over war because the stakes are so high for west virginia and our entire country. which in our state of west virginia has one of the highest rates of military service in the nation participationwise. but as i struggle with this decision, i could not ignore the fact that iran, the country that will benefit most from the sanctions refuses to change a 36-year history of terrorism. for me this deal had to be about more than preventing iran from a nuclear weapon for the next ten to 15 years. for me this had to address their terrorist actions. without doing so it would reward
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the behavior and do nothing to prevent activities. in fact, even during the negotiating process that we've been watching unfold it has continued to hold hostages, support terrorism around the world, breed anti-american sentiment and acquire arms from russia. and it has proven to me that when we catch iran violating the agreement and i believe we will, mr. president, i have grave doubts whether it will have unified partners to obtain the nuclear weapon. i and i could not see them receiving $100 billion in funds that will be used at least in some part to continue funding terrorism and destabilizing the middle east. without, the dangerous regional and american security. the admin
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-- the administration is a false choice, that this is only about nuclear weapons and not terrorism. however, the fact of the matter is that we are concerned about iran having a bomb. because in large part, it is the world's largest state sponsor of terror. asking us to set aside the terrorist question is irresponsible and misses the point. over the past -- in the last 36 years, iran has carried out thousands of acts of terror that have killed thousands of innocent lives, not just in the middle east but around the world. defied international sanctions and treaties, continued to call for and attempt to violently destroy the state of israel, bombed diplomatic buildings and murdered innocent civilians. on top of it all, iran is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of u.s. soldiers. this regime has shown no signs that its deplorable behavior will change and the deal does nothing to guarantee that behavior changes. while the deal places real constraints on iran's nuclear program for the next 10-15 years, after that term, mr. president, iran will be able
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to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in a very short period of time. while i hope that its behavior will change in that span, i cannot gamble our security and that of our allies on the hope that iran will conduct themselves differently than it has for the last 36 years. it is because of that belief and a month of thoughtful consideration that i must cast a vote against this deal. i do not believe that want ising this bill will prevent iran from eventually acquiring a nuclear weapon or continuing to be a leading sponsor of terrorism against americans and our allies around the world. to those who are upset by my deliberations, i will simply say that the decision to pursue diplomacy is every bit as consequential as the decision to pursue war. in many cases, possibly even this one, the choice to abandon the first path leads inevitably to the second. and i, like most americans and west virginians, have already seen too much american sacrifice in the middle east to push us down the path towards war.
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however, i don't believe a vote against this deal forces us to abandon the diplomatic path. we must continue to pursue peace but on terms that promise a lasting peace for the united states and our allies. i met with and spoke to every national security expert i could. i attended every secure briefing that was made available to me. i spoke with representatives of every middle eastern country and, most importantly, i listened to the good citizens of west virginia. i thank all of my constituents who reached out to my office and to the many advisors who took their time to took their time to help many he reach this decision. mr. president, i will continue to listen to my constituents and i will support a path of peace over war and aggression. but make no mistake about it, i will vote to use all of our military might to protect our homeland whenever it is threatened, defend our allies whenever they are put in harm's way and to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. now, i believe to be a superpower, you must possess
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super diplomatic skills and i believe that we can use these skills to negotiate a better deal. we need a deal that the citizens of west virginia, our country and the world know will make us safer, mr. president. with that, i yield. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: thank you, mr. president. as indiana's senator, my top priority and most fundamental responsibility is to ensure the security of the people of indiana and our nation as well as the security of our friends and allies, including israel and the gulf states. and it's through the lens of these solemn obligations that i have carefully reviewed and evaluated the proposed nuclear agreement. in making this decision, i bring to bear not only my responsibilities as a united states senator but as the ranking member of the armed services subcommittee on strategic forces. overseeing our nation's own nuclear arsenal and global
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nonproliferation efforts. my convictions as a strong supporter of israel and my concerns as a hoosier who has attended the funerals of too many young men and women lost protecting our nation in this conflict ridden region. after an exhaustive assessment and careful thought, i determined that despite my questions about iran's intentions, the most responsible course of action is to give this agreement the opportunity to succeed. it is not the agreement i would have written but it is the one we have to make a decision on. and i believe the alternative is much more dangerous to our country and to israel. while reasonable people can disagree on the substance of the agreement, we can all agree that a nuclear-armed iran poses an unacceptable threat to global security and the iranian leadership should not and cannot be trusted. the question then becomes, how
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can we most effectively eliminate iran's nuclear threat. this agreement rolls back iran's nuclear capabilities, shrinks its program and gives us unprecedented access with the most intrusive inspections and verification regime ever put into place. iran must get rid of 98% of their stockpiled uranium, more than two-thirds of their centrifuges and the existing core of their heavy water plutonium reactor. these measures not only give us the opportunity to restrain iran's nuclear capabilities but also, according to our military leadership, improve the effectiveness of our military option should that one day become necessary. without this agreement, we risk the -- we have the risk of both world. the front we have formed with the international community against iran's nuclear program would break apart.
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the agreement would dissolve. sanctions relief flows into iran from those countries who are no longer willing to hold the rhine and iran is left with tens of thousands of centrifuges capable of producing highly enriched uranium, a heavy water reactor capable of producing plutonium. while i support this agreement, i realize the only true guarantee that iran doesn't become a nuclear-armed state is the steadfast resolve of the united states and our allies to do whatever is necessary to stop them and to put in place the policies to make that happen. with or without this deal, the day may come when we are left with no alternative but to take military action to prevent iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. the burden and danger would, as always, be on the shoulders of
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our service members who put their lives on the line for our country. indiana's home to the nation's fourth largest national guard contingent with more than 14,000 hoosiers standing ready to serve their communities and our country. these men and women and the thousands of hoosiers who serve in the reserves and on active duty across the country and around the world have been called to serve time and time again. they have done so with honor and distinction. they make up the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen. and i have every confidence in our ability to meet any challenge put before them. if the day does come that i am faced with a vote to authorize military action against iran, i owe it to our armed forces and to the people of indiana to have tried all other options to stop iran before we consider putting our service members into harm's way. we stand ready to take military
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action if needed but we owe it to the young men and women who protect our country on the front lines. from terre haute and angola and evansville and indianapolis, to at least try to find a peaceful solution. they should be able to expect at least that much from us here in the senate, and if that solution does not succeed, they stand ready. while i share the concerns expressed by the agreement's critics about what may happen 10 years or 15 years or 20 years from now, i cannot in good conscience take action that would shift the potential risks of 2026 and 2031 to 2016. i believe this agreement is, as my predecessor and friend, former u.s. senator richard lugar, recently said, our best chance to stop an iranian bomb without another war in the middle east.
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i owe senator lugar and my other fellow hoosier former congress man lee hamilton, a great debt of gratitude for their input and expertise throughout this process. this deal will not resolve every problem we have with iran. it must be part of a comprehensive strategy to counter the broader threat iran poses through their support for terrorists and other proxies across syria, iraq, lebanon, yemen and elsewhere. i remain committed to working with my colleagues and friends on both sides of the aisle to confront these challenges with a clear, decisive strategy in the middle east. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my time. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: mr. president, i rise today to express strong support for the joint comprehensive plan of action, the diplomatic agreement that the united states and our
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international partners reached with iran in july. i urge my colleagues to support the agreement and to reject the resolution of disapproval. this is not a decision i came to lightly. since the agreement was announced, i have consulted with nuclear and sanctions experts inside and outside government, obama administration officials, including secretary of state john kerry and secretary of energy, muniz, ambassadors from the other countries that negotiated alongside of us, our intelligence communities, advocates for israel on both sides of the issue, my constituents in minnesota and, of course, with my colleagues in the senate. many have expressed reservations about the agreement and i share
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some of those reservations. it's not a perfect agreement. but it is a strong one. as many people have said, no deal is better than a bad deal. but that doesn't mean that the only deal we can agree to is a perfect deal. the last perfect deal we got was on the deck of the u.s.s. missouri. and what a cost we had to pay for that, including the use of a nuclear weapon in war. the only use of actually two. this agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic option available to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon any time in the next 15 years and beyond. iran must never ever have a nuclear weapon. and after 15 years, we will still have every option we currently have up to and
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including the use of military force to prevent iran from getting a bomb. moreover, while critics have eagerly pointed out what they see as flaws in the deal, i have heard no persuasive arguments that there is a better alternative. the agreement imposes a series of physical limits on iran's nuclear program, especially its production of the fissile material it would require to make a bomb. in-- the agreement's verificatin provisions are strong. monitoring of and unfettered access to iran's nuclear sites and ongoing surveillance of iran's nuclear supply chain. let me briefly review the central limits on its nuclear program that iran has agreed to and the verification provisions. together they are designed to prevent iran from trying to get
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a nuclear weapon and to detect them, if they do, with enough time to respond forcefully and effectively. the agreement will prevent iran from using weapons-grade plutonium as a fissile material for a nuclear weapon by requiring iran to redesign and rebuild the iraq nuclear reactor, which, if completed as planned, could have produced enough weapons-grade plutonium for one or two bombs each year. under the agreement, it won't be able to do that. iran has to pull out the core of the nuclear reactor. and fill it with concrete to destroy it. and iran can't get any sanctions relief until it does that. the agreement also significantly reduces and limits iran's production of uranium, which in
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its highly enriched form can also be used in a bomb. iran currently has about 19,500 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium, and it has stockpiled about ten tons of low enriched uranium. under the agreement, iran has to go down to about 5,000 first-generation centrifuges enriching uranium and down to 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium, a 98% reduction. and iran does not get any sanctions relief until to does that. right now it would take iran about two to three months to get one weapons' worth of weapons-grade uranium. it's called the breakout time. the longer the breakout time, of
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course the better. and this agreement will increase the breakout time to one year for the first decade. and because of the inspections included in the agreement, if iran tried to cheat at their nuclear facilities dash for a bomb, we will catch them instantaneously and have more than enough time to respond effectively. iran's nuclear facilities will be subject to 24/7 monitoring and unfettered access by the inspectors of the international atomic energy agency or the iaea. the limitations on iran's nuclear facilities and strict verification make it impossible for iran to dash for a bomb at its known nuclear facilities for the next 15 years. but the verification provisions are also important for another reason. they make it much more difficult for iran to be able to go for a
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bombing in secret as well. beyond the 24/7 monitoring of and unfettered access to iran's nuclear sites, international inspectors will also be guaranteed access to any site in iran that they have suspicions about, including military sites. now, a lot of has been made about a provision in the agreement for resolving disputes when the iaea seeks to access suspicious sites in iran. that process can take up to 24 days. a lot of confused and misleading things have been said about this. first of all, it's important again to emphasize that there is continuous monitoring at iran's declared nuclear sites and unique safeguards on iran's nuclear supply chain. that is not what the 24-day
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controversy is about. where the 24 days comes in is in those cases where iran disputes the iaea's demand for access to a suspicious undeclared site. people have expressed concerns that 24 days is too long. prime minister netanyahu has likened this to giving a drug dealer 24 days notice before you check his premises saying that gives a lot of time for the drug dealer to flush a lot of drugs down the toilet. but here is the problem for iran and the problem with this criticism. you can't hide radioactive material like uranium. it leaves traces behind that you can detect for far, far longer than 24 days. as one nuclear expert has said -- quote -- "if iran were to
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flush the evidence down the toilet, they'd have a radioactive toilet. and request they were to rip out the toilet, they'd have a radioactive hole in the ground. uranium 235 has a half-life of over 700 million years. and the half-life of uranium 238 is over 4 billion years. the iaea will catch iran after 24 days. now it's true there are some activities related to weapons design, for example, that don't use nuclear materials and are much easier to hide. that is a genuine challenge that inspectors in occupier intelligence efforts will face. but the fact is that you can move a computer that you're doing design work on in 24 emseconds. or erase stuff in 24 milli
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seconds. but iran is still not allowed to conduct those activities under the agreement and will face severe consequences if they get caught. so the bottom line is that i.e.'s guaranteed access to suspicious sites will help support the verification of the agreement. perhaps more importantly, we will also have ongoing sur-- surveillance of iran's nuclear supply chain. that means in order to make a nuclear weapon in 15 years or beyond, iran would have to reinstruct every individual piece of the chain. the mining, the milling, the production of centrifuges and more separately and in secret. and it would have to make sure it didn't get caught in any of the steps.
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this agreement plus our own comprehensive intelligence efforts would make it exceedingly unlikely that iran would be able to get away with any of that. and iran would, therefore, risk losing everything it gained from the deal and the reimposition of sanctions, to say nothing of military attack. you don't have to trust the regime's intentions to understand the reality it would face. attempting to cheat on this agreement would carry an overwhelming likelihood of getting caught and serious consequences if it does. we still have work to do to diminish the threat iran poses to our national security, and of course to the safety of our allies in the middle east, beginning with israel. as sanctions are lifted the nonnuclear threat to the region may very well grow. it will need to bolster our
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support to a regional counterweight such as saudi arabia. and of course we'll need to maintain our terrorism-related sanctions which are unaffected by the deal. we also need to work very closely with israel, our greatest friend in the region, in order to ensure its security. as a jew, i feel a deep bond with israel. as senator, i have worked very hard to strengthen our country's bond with that nation and to bolster its security, and i will continue to do that. a nuclear armed iran would be a truly grave threat to israel, and so i believe this agreement will contribute to the security of israel because it is the most effective available means of preventing iran from becoming nuclear armed. and so do a number of very
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senior israeli security experts including some of the former heads of israel's security services. there is no doubt in my mind that this deal represents a significant step for our own national security. one concern has been raised about what happens after year 15, when many of the restrictions in the deal expire. well, there will still be major checks on iran's nuclear program after that date. under the deal, iran will be subject to permanent specific prohibitions on several of the steps necessary to build a bomb. iran's nuclear program will still be subject to heightened monitoring by the iaea and iran's nuclear supply chain will still be subject to uniquely intrusive monitoring which will
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limit iran's ability to divert nuclear materials and equipment to a secret program without being detected. iran must never ever have a nuclear weapon, and we will still have every option we currently have, up to and including the use of military force to prevent that from happening. we also must begin now to make the case to the world that the danger posed by an iranian nuclear weapon will not expire in 15 years and remind iran that should it begin to take worrysome steps, such as enrichment inconsistent with a peaceful program, we stand ready to intervene. that said, we don't know what the world will look like in 15 years. as long as this regime holds power, iran will represent a
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dangerous threat to our security. but it's possible that by 2031, iran may no longer be controlled by hard-liners determined to harm our interests. more than l 60% of iran's population is now under the age of 30. these young iranians are increasingly well educated and pro-american. we don't know how this tension within iran will work out. but i think if we reject this agreement, we will lose this opportunity with the people of iran. if we back out of a deal that we've agreed to, we will only embolden the hard-liners who insist that america cannot be trusted. and we will be doing sesm inflicted damage -- self-inflicted damage to american global leadership and to the cause of international diplomacy. what's more, the alternatives that i have heard run the gamut
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from unrealistic to horrifying. for example, some say that should the senate reject this agreement, we would be in a position to negotiate a better one. but i have spoken to the ambassadors are deputy chiefs of mission of each of the five nations who helped broker the deal with us, and they all agree this simply would not be the case. instead, these diplomats have told me that we would not be able to come back to the bargaining table at all and that the sanction regimes would likely erode or just fall apart completely. iran's leaders, more money and more leverage or limiting both throughout the world and our own leverage. that is just, just the reality.
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and of course iran would be able to move forward on its nuclear program, endangering our interests in the region, especially israel. and making it far more likely that we will find ourselves engaged in a military conflict there. if iran cheats on this agreement, and we are a part of it, we will have a say in the international response. if we are not a part of this agreement, we will not. now, most opponents of this agreement do not seek or want war with iran. even if opposition to the agreement makes such a war, in my opinion, more likely. but some of them do. one of my colleagues suggested that we should simply attack
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iran now, an exercise he believes would be quick and painless for the united states. in fact, he compared it to operation desert fox, intimating that it would be over and done with in a matter of days. but this is pure fantasy, at least according to what our security and intelligence experts tell us, and it's certainly not the lesson anyone should have learned from the disastrous invasion of iraq. the middle east is an unstable, unpredictable, largely unfriendly region. we know that military undertakings in the region are likely to bring very painful, unpredictable consequences. that is why we should really give diplomacy a chance. and yet, a number of my colleagues and others were intent on opposing such a debt diplomatic solution, even before
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the agreement was reached. in march, -- i would ask unanimous consent for another two minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. in march, 47 of my republican colleagues took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to iran's leaders just as these sensitive negotiations were nearing an accord. it was a clear attempt to undermine american diplomacy and a signal that they would oppose any deal with iran, no matter what the terms, so it's not surprising that these critics now oppose the finished deal. but at this point -- as this point that they refuse to acknowledge let alone take the responsibility for the dire consequences that would almost certainly result from killing it. it's possible that there would not be a war if we reject the agreement, but what seems undeniable is that if we and we alone are to walk away from an agreement that we negotiated
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alongside our international partners, that would be a severe, a severe blow to our standing and our leadership in the world. diplomacy requires cooperation and compromise. you don't negotiate with your friends. you negotiate with your enemies. indeed, no one who is for this deal has any illusions about the nature of the iranian regime, any more than the american presidents who have made nuclear agreements with the soviet union had illusions about the nature of the communist regime there. for a long time, it looked like our only options when it came to iran would be allowing it to have a nuclear weapon or having to bomb the country ourselves. this agreement represents a chance to break out of that no-win scenario and to take the extraordinary step of rejecting it because of clearly
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unrealistic expectations, because of the hunger to send americans into another war or, worst of all, because of petty partisanship would be a terrible mistake. i therefore urge my colleagues to prevent this resolution of disapproval from moving forward and to vote in support of the agreement. thank you. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, i support the joint comprehensive plan of action that we have agreed to with our international partners and with iran. this agreement implemented effectively is the best option we have to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. i sit on the armed services and intelligence committees. we have had numerous hearings. i have engaged with the administration.
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i have met with our international partners. i have studied the deal itself. i have read the commentary and analyses from all different perspectives. i have asked hard questions. i have reached my conclusions based on the facts before us. this decision was not easy and should not be easy. like every member of this body, i am committed to israel's security. i'm concerned about iran's statements against israel and iran's support for terrorism. these concerns are real and valid. nuclear proliferation is one of the most consequential national security matters facing the world. clearly, a nuclear iran is unacceptable to all of us. so i would expect that any agreement to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon is given serious, thoughtful
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consideration. yet, there are those in this body and elsewhere who oppose even the idea of a diplomatic solution, at least one negotiated by the obama administration. they made clear their intention to oppose the agreement even while the negotiations were taking place. for the first time i'm aware of in u.s. history, dozens of senators signed an open letter to a foreign government, the government of an adversary, no less, stating that any agreement reached by this administration would be undone. before the actual ink was put to paper on their agreement, that was their message. then within hours of the deal's announcement, the same voices that oppose negotiations -- opposed negotiations in the first place started denouncing it as a bad deal. some claim they could get a better deal. others said no deal was
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preferable, despite the fact that iran was within two to three months of getting a nuclear bomb. i'm fairly certain these people hadn't read the deal before they made such statements at the very opposite. that's not how we should conduct foreign policy. our national security, the security of israel and the stability of the middle east are too important to turn into campaign ads or political rhetoric. as we prepare to vote this afternoon, i'd ask my colleagues to set politics aside and focus on the facts. the fact is this agreement is the best option we have to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. first, we have reached this agreement with the backing of our international partners, including china and russia. i along with some of my other colleagues met with the ambassadors of these countries, and i asked them quite blank would you come back to the table
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to bargain for another agreement if the united states walks away, and they said no, there already is an agreement. it is the one that congress should be supporting. the ambassador to the united states from the u.k. also said no. i'd remind my colleagues that after decades of u.s. unilateral sanctions against israel, it was the weight of international sanctions, international sanctions that forced iran to the table. we need our partners to make this deal work, and our partners have committed that if we choose this path, they will stand with us. they will be with us. second, the terms of this agreement implemented effectively cut off iran's ability to create a bomb. their uranium stockpiles will be all but eliminated. we'll have unprecedented oversight over the entire
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nuclear supply chain. the u.s. intelligence community has indicated that it will gain valuable new insights through this agreement. indeed, with the information that can be garnered through this agreement, our intelligence community will be able to provide information that will enable us to make sure that iran stands up and abides by the provisions of this deal. we'll have veto authority over what goes into iran, and we will know what comes out of iran. these unprecedented oversight provisions have the support of arms control experts, nuclear scientists, diplomats, military and intelligence leaders, all of whom believe that this deal will make the difference. the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. mrs. hirono: i would ask unanimous consent for one more minute. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. hirono: finally, this
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agreement is about trust. the deal requires verification that iran is cooperating before sanctions can be lifted. if iran cheats, we can snap back sanctions and with international support. we can initiate military operations, if need be. let me repeat -- the deal before us does not prevent the u.s. from taking military action, if needed. this agreement is not perfect. however, rejecting this deal means risking our international cooperation, our security and our ability to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. based on the facts before us, this agreement deserves our support. let's put politics aside. i urge my colleagues to join me in opposing the resolution before us today. i urge my colleagues to support the agreement. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts.
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mr. markey: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, for more than half a century, the united states has led global efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. since the 1970's, the international community has set rules and procedures to prevent these weapons from spreading, particularly to unstable regions plagued by international and civil war. today the world faces precisely this challenge in iran. a nuclear weapon in the hands of iran is a very real and dangerous threat, not only to israel and the entire middle east but to all of humanity. we are in unanimous agreement that iran must never become a nuclear weapons state. iran has given us good reason to be skeptical of its intentions. it has misled the world about its nuclear program. is a state sponsor of terrorism and is a destabilizing force in the middle east. with nuclear weapons, the threat posed by iran would increase exponentially. because of these factors, we
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cannot trust iran or ever give it a free pass on its destabilizing activity in the region and around the globe. but as we speak today, iran has the capability to develop a nuclear weapon within three months. with the iran nuclear agreement, that will no longer be possible. i believe that our negotiators achieve as much as possible and that if the agreement they negotiated is strictly implemented, it can do the job. on the other hand, if we walk away now, our diplomatic coalition will likely fall apart, and the prospects for any renewed effort would not be promising. together with many other senators, i met with the ambassadors of the five countries that joined in the effort to reach this agreement. great britain, france, germany, china and russia. their message was unified and crystal clear. if the united states walks away right now, then we will be on
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our own and they will not come back to the table. i acknowledge that the agreement carries risks, but as recently stated in a letter signed by 29 leading american nuclear scientists, including six nobel laureates, this agreement contains -- quote -- more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated nonproliferation framework. the agreement puts strict limits on iran's nuclear program for the next 15 years. it reduces iran's existing nuclear program to a fraction of its current size. it virtually eliminates iran's plutonium capabilities and reduces its uranium capabilities by two-thirds. it pushes back the time required before iran would be capable of building a nuclear bomb from three months to more than one year. but as i said earlier, this agreement is not based on trust. it i am poses the most invasive,
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stringent and technologically innovative verification regime ever negotiated. the agreement empowers inspectors to use the most advanced and intrusive methods to monitor iran's compliance. this verification system will provide an unprecedented amount of reliable information and insight into iran's nuclear program, ensuring that if iran ever tries to develop a nuclear weapon, we will find out about it in time to stop them. after 15 years, both under this agreement and the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, iran will remain bound never to seek nuclear weapons. in paragraph three of the agreement, iran cat -- categorically makes the following binding operation, and i quote, under no circumstances will iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. under the agreement, iran will be required to give the iaea detailed plans for how it
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intends to develop nuclear technology for peaceful use. it will remain forever subject to iaea inspection to verify that it never seeks nuclear weapons or engages in any nuclear weapons-related activities. and if the iaea ever finds anything success suspicious, not just in -- suspicious, not just in 10, 15, 20, or 25 years, but forever, then it will be the iaea's duty to promptly report its suspicions to the world. the iaea's inspection are critical to this agreement. it will be critical to provide international inspectors with the support they require to detect, investigate and respond to any suspicious nuclear activity before iran has time to cover up the evidence. with our support, the iaea can and must aggressively investigate any indication of iranian nuclear activities and
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report promptly and equivocally if iran cheats. likewise, we must be prepared to react at any time that the iaea sounds the alarm. i supported the tough sanctions that brought iran to the negotiating table in the first place and there are mechanisms in this agreement to smap -- snap back sanctions quickly and prevent a chinese or russian veto. even with nuclear weapons -- even without nuclear weapons, iran poses very real risks, particularly to israel, our closest friend in the region, and to our partners in the arabian peninsula. the administration has assured us that it is working closely with regional partners to enhance their security. congress must be an active, insistent and bipartisan partner in this effort, both with this president and his successors. we must increase our security assistance to israel to
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unprecedented levels. i have always been a strong supporter of israel. when saddam hussein was developing nuclear weapons in 1981, i supported israel's decision to bomb the reactor. when israel needed more funding for a missile defense system in 2010, i voted to accelerate the development of the iron dome system. when hamas attacked israel in 2012, i supported israel's right to self-defense. we must continue to ensure israel's qualitative military edge in the region and promptly finalize our new 10-year memorandum of understanding to cement our security assistance commitments. likewise, we must strengthen our relationships with all of our regional partners. the countries of the arabian peninsula require our assistance to counter threats from iran, our cooperation in ballistic missile defense and countering violent extremists through intelligence sharing and
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interdiction must continue and be enhanced. over the past two months, i have consulted with many stakeholders , groups, advocates and concerned constituents on both sides of this debate. without exception, their passion is borne of an unwavering desire to secure a lasting peace for the middle east. israel, the united states and the world. and this is a passion that i share. the world has come together in an historic way. with the agreement, we gain much, but most important, we avoid missing the significant diplomatic opportunity to ensure that iran never emerges as a nuclear weapons state. with this agreement, we will maintain the international solidarity that will enable us to reimpose sanctions if iran ever does try to get a nuclear weapon. we will keep and continue to improve all of our capabilities
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required to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state, including a military option. i thank secretary kerry, secretary muniz and the entire u.s. negotiating team for their tireless efforts and service to our country in helping reach this agreement. i also want to thank president obama for his leadership and commitment to diplomacy. i urge the senate to come together to support this diplomatic effort to prevent iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon, not just this month or this year but forever. we must be ever vigilant to ensure that every part of this agreement is verified. i thank you, mr. president, and i yield back the balance of my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. johnson: mr. president, i've been watching this debate as careful as i possibly can. i think it's been very thoughtful. i think it's interesting that, you know, members of this body have read and looked at the same agreement and come to different conclusions. it's not surprising.
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a rot -- a lot of complications to this. no one can really know exactly how everything's going to turn out so it doesn't surprise me that people have come to different conclusions. i also agree with members of this body when they say this is probably one of the most important votes they'll ever take. we're talking about a nuclear iran and how we can potentially prevent that and that obviously would be a threat to world peace. i know sitting back in oshkosh, wisconsin, well before i became a united states senator, i heard members of both parties declare definitively we cannot allow iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. well, the sad fact is, i think this agreement puts them on a path to obtain that weapon. i also agree with president obama in his speech really chastising those of us that don't agree with him when he said, this is a pretty simple decision. i think it is a pretty simple decision. i just come on -- come at it
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from a totally different perspective and obviously draw a completely different conclusion from that. let me just read a couple of quotes that have been brought forth by members of this body during this debate. first, "most importantly, this agreement cannot be based on hope or trust. history belies both in our experience with iran. this deal is not the agreement i have long sought." another senator, "we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in iran. we are, in effect, rewarding years of the deception, deceit and wanton disregard for international law." another senator, "this agreement with the duplicitous and un trustworthy iranian regime falls short of what i'd envisioned." and yet another, "this deal isn't perfect and no one trusts iran." now, mr. president, i have
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really in my 4 1/2 years in the united states senate, i've been trying to find those areas of agreement. i agree with those comments. what's kind of surprising about all these quotes, these are quotes from individuals, senators -- i won't name them -- but senators that are going to vote to approve this awful deal. i think something else we can all agree on is that iran is our enemy. let me just detail a couple other quotes. earlier this year, after his congregation broke out with a "death to america" chant, supreme leader ayatollah khamenei said, "yes, of course. yes. death to america because america is the original source of this pressure. death to america. death to america." and then only two days ago, the supreme leader said, "i say that you, israelis, will not see the coming 25 years and, god willing, there will not be
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something named the zionist regime in the next 25 years." so i agree, we cannot trust iran, we cannot trust the supreme leader and i agree, iran is our enemy. so my decision to vote for disapproval of this deal rests on a very simple premise -- why in the world would we ever enter a deal that will inject tens of billions and eventually hundreds of billions of dollars to our enemy, our avowed enemy, an enemy that i have to remind this this -- this body was responsible because of the i.e.d.'s for the killing of 196 troops in iraq and many more wounded and maimed? a regime that back in the late 1970's took 52 u.s. hostages for 444 days.
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that regime has not changed its behavior in all those intervening years so they are an enemy. and again, let me point out, why in the world would we ever agree to a deal that will strengthen our economy's economy -- our enemy's economy and our enemy's military? it seems pretty obvious and i agree with president obama -- this is a simple decision but i disagree. he thinks it's a good deal. i think it's a very bad deal. now, with my remaining time, i want to be respectful of my colleagues. i do want to talk about what this debate, what this vote is actually about. this is not a straight up-and-down vote to approve an international agreement that would be deemed a treaty. this body gave up our ability to deem this a treaty and provide the advice and consent when we voted on my amendment at to deem
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it a treaty. president obama, on his own authority, his article 2 powers, said that, no, something this important, this consequential is not a treaty, it's an executive agreement. and i can go it alone. and he basically did. until senator -- the senator from tennessee and maryland came together and recognized the fact that part of this deal -- a key part of this deal is the waiver or lifting of the congressionally imposed sanctions that we put in place against the president's objection, by the way, in 2012. what this debate is all about is whether or not president obama can retain that waiver authority regardless of how this turns out, president obama again has negotiated this deal, he has run to the united nations security council, got them to agree to it. the process will be put in place to lift those sanctions from the united nations that, by the way,
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were put in place in resolutions that would have required for the suspension or halting of the uranium enrichment capability, which is not part of this deal, unfortunately. so it's extremely important for the american people to understand that we're not debating, we're not going to be voting on the actual deal itself but we're going to be voting on something that's pretty weak involvement, pretty minor involvement because president obama has pretty well blocked us , blocked the american people from having a voice in so -- in a deal that is so important, so consequential and what i believe is going to be so damaging to america's long-term interests, a deal that i believe really will put iran on a path to obtain a nuclear weapon. we're going to be lifting the arms embargo. we're already lifting the embargo on ballistic missile
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technology. and once again, let me reiterate, we are going to be interjecting, injecting tens of billions and eventually hundreds of billions of dollars to strengthen the economy and the military of our avowed enemy. it's a simple decision for me, which is why i will vote to disapprove this very bad deal. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: thank you, mr. president. and i thank my colleague from wisconsin for his comments. i rise today in opposition to this agreement and i do so because i believe it's bad for our country and bad for the world. there are very few votes we take here in the united states senate that have such a profound effect on our national security and the kind of world our kids and our grandkids are going to inherit. as this upcoming vote we'll take
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next week on this nuclear dealment -- deal. over the past couple of months, i have taken the time to read the agreement carefully, i've attended the classified briefings, i've listened to my colleagues, i've talked to a lot of experts on both sides of the issue. i did take my time in coming to a decision because i was hopeful that we'd be able to have an agreement that i could support and others could as well. i've also listened to my constituents back home in ohio. they've looked at this agreement too. they understand what's at stake and they have strong views auto it. -- strong views on it. and my calls and letters and e-mails are overwhelmingly opposed. through the process, what i did was i measured the agreement not based on just some abstract concept that i might have, i actually based it on the actual objectives and criteria that were set out by the international community, the united nations, the united
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states of america, our government. i looked at it based on the red lines that we had drawn. and one of my great concerns about this agreement is that those red lines have not been honored. the broad goal, of course, the biggest red line is that congress, the obama administration, the united nations security council, everyone was very clear -- iran must stop and dismantle its nuclear weapons program. that's the most basic red line. you have to remember that when congress on a bipartisan basis enacted these crippling sanctions on iran, it was not just to bring iran to the table, which was the result, it was actually to get them to abandon their nuclear weapons program. that was the point. i supported tougher sanctions to give leverage to the obama administration, even though, curiously, they didn't want that leverage. they resisted congress increasing those sanctions. in fact, they initially opposed
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any role for congress in reviewing the agreement. the gentleman from tennessee is here, the chairman of the committee, he will tell you they are somehow reluctant for congress to have a role here, even to help them negotiate a better agreement. that was probably an indication of where we were going. despite that resistance, serious sanctions were enacted and iran did come to the table. i had hoped then that with firm united states leadership, leading from the front not from behind, we'd be able to bring the international community along to ensure that we did meet those criteria i talked about early -- long-standing u.s. international criteria. unfortunately, after reviewing the terms of this agreement, it's explicitly clear that these red lines, these objectives, these criteria we have set out have not been met. we now have an obligation to reject this deal and restore the consensus, both at home and abroad, that the iranian government must be isolated economically and diplomatically,
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until it agrees to the long-standing terms on which the united states and the international community have long insisted. some will say that's fine but that's impossible. i respectfully disagree. i respectfully quote president obama who has said repeatedly no agreement is better than a bad agreement, meaning keeping the sanctions in place is better than a bad agreement. i think that's where we are. this is a bad agreement. among the many serious laws of this deal is the fact that iran can continue research and development on more advanced centrifuges and can resume enrichment in 15 years, provided provided -- providing at best only temporary relief. inspections, one of the most safeguards we have are not anywhere, any time as was talked about by the administration. under this deal, iran can delay the inspection of nuclear sites up to 24 days.
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there is even a process to get to the 24 days. if iranians cheat as they have in the past, we would have to employ a convoluted process to convince the international community to restore sanctions, a process i don't think we can rely on. it's also important to note that other than reimposition of sanctions, the agreement does not specify any clear outcomes of the resolution process nor does it identify penalties for failure to comply. this means that really the only realistic pre-agreed punishment for any violation, no matter how big or how small, is full reimposition of sanctions. in ways, i look at this, this is like having the death penalty as the only punishment for all crimes. i don't think that's realistic. i don't think you're going to get the international community to go along with that. that's why i worry about the compliance and the sanctions. given that only a full-blown iranian violation would like lie convince enough countries to impose all sanctions, i don't think the agreement provides the
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concrete tools to provide less overt but still subversive forms of iranian cheating that are designed to test international resolve and establish a new baseline for acceptable behavior. by the way, based on past behavior, this is likely. in addition, of course, the inspections regime is subject to side deals between the united nations, international atomic energy agency and iran, none of us are allowed to see. contrary, by the way, to the iran review act that passed congress and was signed into law by the president of the united states. the language of that legislation is pretty clear. it requires the president to transmit to congress and i quote -- "the agreement as defined in this section including all materials and annexes." and then when it talks about what that means, it says, and i quote -- "including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, guidance, technical understandings, and so on and so forth.
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it's all here. that's in the agreement that we had with the president of the united states. because it was part of the review act that he signed into law. based on recent press reporting, of course we are also hearing that iran will be allowed to self-inspect, use its own inspectors and equipment to report on possible military dimensions of past suspected nuclear activity at one of the most secretive and important military facilities, at parchin. allowing a country accused of hiding a secret and nuclear weapons program to implement verification programs for the facility that has been hidden certainly undermines the president's claim that, and i quote, the iran deal is not built on trust. it is built on verification." end quote. perhaps most troubling is that this agreement ends iran's international isolation without ending the behavior that caused iran to be isolated in the first place. as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism based upon our own state department
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analysis, iran's nuclear program is just one part of a broader strategy that's dangerous and destabilizing. according to some estimates, of course iran will receive up to $150 billion in sanctions relief early in the agreement. by the way, with or without sustained compliance, which will encourage the iranians to cause trouble to further support terrorist groups they sponsor. national security advisor susan rice acknowledged something that i think is pretty plain. she says iran is sending money to these groups now while they are under sanctions and they will have more money to do it when the sanctions are relieved. that's the national security advisor. within five years, the agreement lists the embargo on conventional weapons and lifts the ballistic missiles embargo within eight years, a last-minute concession to iran and a rush by the administration to get the yes. at a minimum, this deal will ensure that iran remains a threshold nuclear power, but with a new set of tools and more resources to hurt our interests and those of our allies in the region, including israel.
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i believe it's clear that the deal as currently written will set off a nuclear and conventional arms race in the middle east. the president says the alternative of this deal is war. in fact, a middle east bristling with arms will increase the risks of war, increase the risks of war because of this deal. i have been involved in international negotiations. as u.s. trade representative, i understand that they can be tough. i know that both sides have to make concessions, but i also know that that does not mean that the united states of america concedes on fundamental principles, on red lines. we've got to have the courage to stand behind our legitimate public pronouncements, whether it's with the use of chesapeake by the assad regime in syria, whether it's the violation of both minsk cease-fire agreements by the russians and proxies in ukraine or our commitment that iran must stop and dismantle its march toward nuclear weapons. these are all red lines.
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these are all things you negotiate. these are all things you have to be firm on and tough on. it's not easy, but as americans, that's what we do. there was a speech written that was never given that was meant to be given on november 22, 1963. it was the day john f. kennedy was assassinated. he said in that speech about america's role, he said our generation, our nation by destiny rather than choice are the watch guards on the walls of world freedom. that's who we are. we've got to be tough in these negotiations and stand tall. other countries look to us to be tall. to help build the consensus. that's what we had to do and i believe we did not do in what i'm sure was a very difficult negotiation. we have to honor our red lines if we expect them to be effective in promoting peace and stability. we must lead. in particularly, we've got to say what we mean and mean what we say if we're going to stop
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nuclear proliferation. the way this agreement developed i think will encourage other countries who are interested in pursuing nuclear weapons to say i don't care what the u.n. says, i don't care what the united states says. what i see here is everybody is negotiable. that's the message i'm afraid this agreement will send. the administration's position that the alternative to this agreement is war, that's what they're saying, as noted, if anything, i think this agreement will further destabilize an already turbulent region. but there is an alternative. the alternative to this bad deal is a better deal. supporters of this agreement have compared this agreement to ronald reagan's arms control negotiations with the soviets. i want to just touch on that for a moment because i've heard a lot of that here on the floor. i take a very different lesson from that analogy to ronald reagan. president reagan succeeded by raising the pressure, not
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reducing it. he increased the cost of bad behavior until that behavior changed. he didn't strike a deal unless it fulfilled the core goals that he laid out, his red lines. he didn't want to deal for a deal's sake, and he was patient. at the reykjavik summit in 1986, ronald reagan walked away from what would have been a major nuclear disarmament agreement with the soviets because he felt that the cost to u.s. national security were too high. he was criticized for walking away, but he kept trying, he held firm, and a year later he successfully concluded negotiations on the intermediate nuclear forces treaty. this body must not sign off on an agreement that fails to honor our red lines, that strengthens iran's destabilizing influence in the region and does nothing that threatens the behavior of our allies and our legitimate national security interests in this country. we should reject this agreement with iran and tighten those sanctions on a bipartisan basis. the president should then use the leverage that only america
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possesses to negotiate an international agreement that does meet the long-standing goals of the united nations, of the international community, of the united states of america, of this congress and the president himself. we can't afford to get this one wrong, folks. we owe it to our children and grandchildren to get this right. as noted in the beginning of my remarks, this is about what kind of world they're going to inherit. i urge my colleagues in the senate to join me in rejecting this deal and pursuing a better way. i yield back my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, for 23 years as a member of the house foreign affairs and senate foreign relations committee, i have had the privilege of dealing with major foreign
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policy and national security issues. many of those have been of a momentous nature. this is one of those moments. i come to the issue of the joint comprehensive plan of action with iran as someone who has followed iran's nuclear ambition for the better part of two decades. now, unlike president obama's characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement or who have opposed it, i did not vote for the war in iraq. i opposed it, unlike the vice president and the secretary of state, who both supported it. my vote against the iraq war was unpopular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions i have ever made. i have not hesitated to diplomatically negotiate with our adversaries or enemies, as in evidence, for example, by my vote for the new start treaty with russia. i also don't come to this question as someone unlike some of my republican colleagues who reflexively oppose everything the president proposes. in fact, i have supported president obama, according to
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"congressional quarterly," 98% of the time in 2013 and 2014. on key policies ranging from voting for the affordable care act, to wall street reform, to supporting the president's supreme court nominees, defending the administration's actions in the benghazi tragedy, shepherding within one week the authorization for the use of military force to stop president assad's use of chesapeake when i was chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, to so much more i have been a reliable supporter of the president. my support is not and has not been driven by party loyalty but rather by principled agreement, not political expediency. and when i have disagreed, it is based on principled disagreement. the issue before the senate now is whether to vote to approve or disapprove the agreement struck by the president in our p-5 plus 1 partners with iran. this is one of the most serious national security, nuclear nonproliferation arms control issues of our time.
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it is not an issue of supporting or opposing the president. this issue is much greater and graver than that, and it deserves a vote. with this agreement, i believe we have now abandoned our long-held policy of preventing nuclear proliferation, and we are now embarked not on preventing it but on managing or containing it, which leaves us with a far less desirable, less secure and less certain world order. so i am deeply concerned that this is a significant terrorist in our nonproliferation policy and about what it will mean in terms of a potential arms race in an already dangerous region. why does iran, which has the world's fourth largest proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the world's second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193,000,000,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas need nuclear
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power for domestic energy? we know that despite the fact that iran claims their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, that they have violated the international will as expressed by various u.n. security council resolutions and by deceit, deception and delay, advanced their program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state. it is because of these facts and the fact that the world believes that iran was weaponizing its nuclear program at the parchin military base as well as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in fordow built deep inside of a mountain, raising serious doubts about the peaceful nature of their civilian program and their sponsorship of state terrorism that the world united against iran's nuclear program. so in that context, let's remind ourselves of the stated purpose of our negotiations with iran. simply put, it was to dismantle
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significant parts of iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time. we said we would accommodate iran's practical and national needs but not leave the region and the world facing the threat of a nuclear-armed iran at a time of its choosing. we thought the agreement would be roll back for roll back, at the end of the day, what we appear to have is a rollback of sanctions and iran only limiting its capability but not dismantling it or rolling back. what did we get? we got an alarm bell should they decide to commit their commitments, that in my view is a far cry from dismantling. now, while i have many specific concerns about the agreement, my overarching concern is that
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it requires no dismantling of iran's nuclear infrastructure and only mothballs that infrastructure for ten years. not only one centrifuge will be destroyed under this agreement. the fact is everyone needs to understand what this agreement does and does not do so they can determine whether providing iran with permanent relief in exchange for short-term promises is a fair trade. this deal does not require iran to destroy or fully decommission a single uranium centrifuge. half will continue to spin at their assistant iz facility. and the half the refuges and 10,000 not functioning will be disconnected and transferred to another holding at tan tens.
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and we agreed to lift the sanctions with hundreds of billions back into their economy. and even during the first ten years of the agreement, iran will be allowed to continue r&d activity on a range of centrifuges, allowing them to improve their effectiveness over the course of agreement. clearly the question is, what did we get there this agreement in terms of what we originally sought? we lift sanctions, a year later iran can start manufacturing and testing advanceed ir 6 up to 15 times the speed of its current models. a year 15, iran can start enriching uranium beyond 3.67%, concern about fissile material. and year 15 iran will have no limits on its stockpile. this deal grants iran permanent sanctions relief in exchange for only temporary, temporary
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limitations on its program. not a rollback but temporary limitations. in fact, at year ten the security council resolution will disappear along with the mechanism to snap back the sanctions and the 24-day mandatory access provision for suspicious sites in iran. the deal enshrines for iran and, in fact, commits the international community to assisting iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear program complete with industrial-scale enrichment. i understand this program will be subject to obligations under theing provision provisions, i think it will be, given their history of violations of m.p.t. it will in the long run if we believe there is a violation make it much harder to demonstrate that iran's program is not, in fact, being used for
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peaceful purposes because iran will have legitimate reasons to have advanced centrifuges and a robust enrichment program. we will then have to demonstrate it has a dual use not just justified by their power program. we have about a year, iran the, the tune of $100 billion to $150 billion, not just release the assets but also renewed oil sales of a million barrels a day as well as relief from sectorial sanctions in the shipbuilding, shipping, port sectors and other precious metals. iran will benefit from the removal of designated entities including major banks, shipping companies, oil and gas firms from the u.s. treasury list of sanction entities. of the nearly 650 entities that
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have been designated by the u.s. treasury for their role in iran's nuclear and missile programs or for being controlled by the government of iran, more than 67% will be delisted within six to 12 months, close quote, according to the foreign relations committee. all this relief comes within a year, in spite of its obligations that stretch for a decade or longer. considering that it was president rouhani who produced the fissile after his election, convinced the ayatollah his regime could not sustain itself under the sanctions, and knew that only a negotiated agreement would get iran the relief it needed to sustain the regime and the revolution, the negotiating leverage was and still is greatly on our side.
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however, the jcpoa in paragraph 26 of the sanctions heading of the agreement says the u.s. administration acting consistently with the respective roles of the president and the congress will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing sanctions specified in annex two that it has ceased applying under this jcpoa. i repeat, the united states will are have to refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions we introduced unanimously that expires next year. in two hearings i asked treasury secretary lew and under secretary wendy sherman if the united states is authorized to have sanctions to snap back to and neither would answer saying it was too early. but i get my answer from the
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iranian ambassador who said it is clearly spelled out in the jcpoa that both the european union and the united states will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions and restrictive measures lifted under the jcpoa. it is understood that the reintroduction or reimposition including through extension of the sanctions and restrictive measures will institute significant nonperformance which would relieve iran from its commitments in part or in whole, close quote. the administration cannot argue sanction policy both ways. either they were effective getting iran to the table or were not. sanctions are either deterrent to breakout or a violation of the agreement or they are not. frankly, if my view the overall sanction relief given the earns' understanding of the sanctions, along with the lifting of the
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arms and missile embargo well before the compliance is established, we are in a weaker position and that to me is unacceptable. it is a fantasy, it is the belief that snapback without congressionally mandated sanctions and the e.u. sanctions around the world will have any real effect. as the largest state sponsor of terrorism, iran who has exported to the huthis in yemen, against the american troops in iraq will be flush with money not only to invest in their domestic economy but to further pursue their destabilizing hegemony goals in the region. if they continue under the staggering sanctions and oil prices what will iran do when they have a cash infusion of more than 20% of their g.d.p.?
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the equivalent of infusion of $3.4 trillion in our economy. if there is a fear of war in the region, it will be one fueled by iran and its proxies and exacerbated by an agreement that allows iran to process with a program and continue to fund its hegemonic intentions in the region. that brings me to the next issue, coming clean about the possible things under the program. in the decade the world has been concerned about the secret weapon in the base called partin. we have sought to know what has iran accomplished not to get iran to declare culpability but
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to see how long they were furthered in their program so we see the signatures in the future. david albright, a physicist and inspector in the international security said it is the iaea's concerns about the dimensions of iran's nuclear programs is fundamental to any long-term agreement, any agreement that sid steps the issue would be unvariable, close quotes. the reasons he says it side steps would be unverifiable because it makes a difference if you are 90% down the road of weaponization efforts or only 10% advanced. how far in advance iran's weaponizing efforts are has an impact on what iran's breakout time to an actual deliverable weapon will be. a list of scientists of p-5 plus
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1 were rejected outright by iran. after waiting over ten years to inspect, they are given three months to do all of their review and analysis before they must deliver a report in december of this year. how the inspections of soil and samples are collected are outlining in two secret agreements the congress is not privy to. it has a confidentiality agreement which they say is customary but it is anything but customary. according to an a.p. story, they say the agency will be able to report in december but that assessment is unlikely to be equivocal because chances are slim that iran will present all the evidence they want or give them freedom of movement to follow up the allegations. still it is expected to be approved by the iaea's board
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which includes the united states and other powerful nations that negotiated the july 14 agreement they do not want to upend their july 14 deal and will see the december report is closing the books on the issue, end quote about it seems to me it is sweeping this critical issue under the rug. a willingness to accept this process is achieved, the administration always held out as one of those essential elements we would insist on and could rely on in any deal. instead, we have a dispute resolution mechanism that shifts the burden of proof to the united states and its partners to provide sensitive intelligence, possibly revealing our sources and methods which we collected the information and allow them to delay access nearly a month. the delay that would allow them to remove evidence and particularly when it comes to
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centrifuge research and development and weaponization efforts that can be easily hidden and would leave little or no signature. the administration suggests that other than iraq it would be under any, but their defiance of the the resolutions does not make it any other country. it is their violations of the n.p.t. and the security council resolutions that creates the necessity for any time, anywhere inspections. the willingness to accept these limitations are a dangerous bellwether to accept the agreement to go forward. what does obama say in his november 27, that the fear would be in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges fairly rapidly and at that point breakout times would be shrunk
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down to zero, is true, and seems to me the essence this deal does nothing more than kick it down the road 10 to 15 years. and at the same time undermines arguments of suspected violations will need because the dual-use nature of their program to the security council and communities to take actions. it is erroneous to say that this agreement permanently stops iran from having a nuclear bomb. let's be clear. what the agreement does is to recommit iran not to pursue a nuclear bomb, a promise they have already violated in the past. it recommits them to the n.p.t. treaty that they have already violated in the past. it commits them to obligations but they have already violated those in the past as well. so the suggestions of permanence in this case is only possible for so long as iran complies and
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performs because this -- conforms because this leaves elements of their robust nuclear infrastructure. the fact is success is not a question of iran's conforming and performing according to the agreement. if that was all that was needed iran had to abide by its agreements, we wouldn't have this challenge now. but the test of success must be if iran violates the agreement and attempts to break out, how will we be positioned to deal with iran at that point? trying to reassemble the sanctions regime, including the time to give companies and countries notice of sanction ability, would take up most of the breakout time assuming we could get compliance. that, indeed, would be a fantasy. it would likely leave the next president upon an iranian decision to break out one of two
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choices: accept iran as a nuclear-weapon state or take military action. neither is desirable, especially when iran will be stronger, economically resurgent, a more consequential actor in the region, and with greater capabilities like the missile defense system being sold to them by russia. so the suggestion of permanency in stopping iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon depends on performance. based on the long history of iran's broken promises, defiance, and violations, that is hopeful. significant dismantlement would establish performance up front and therefore the threat to develop a nuclear weapon would truly be permanent and i attempt to rebuild the infrastructure would give the world far more than one year's time. secretary kerry has said that the choices between this agreement. i reject that proposition as
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have most witnesses including past and present administration members involved in this issue who have testified before the senate foreign relations committee and who support the deal but reject the biary choice -- the binary choice between the p-5. i believe we could still get a better deal and here's how. we can disapprove this agreement without rejecting the entire agreement. we should direct the administration to renegotiate by authorizing the continuation of negotiations and the joint plan of action, including iran's $700 million-a-month lifeline. and pausing further reductions of purchases of iranian oil and other captions pursuant to the original j jcpoa. iran will want to avoid a possible military attack, so they are incentivized to come back to the negotiating table.
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we can provide specific parameters for the administration to guide their continued negotiations and ensure that a new agreement does not run afoul of congress. a continuation of talks would allow the reconsideration of just a few but a critical few issues, including the immediate ratification by iran of the additional protocol to insure that we have a permanent international agreement with iran for access to suspect sites, a ban on centrifuge r&d to ensure that iran doesn't have the capacity to break out, close the fordow enrichment facility. the sole purpose of fordow was to harden iran's ability for a nuclear attack. if iran had nothing hide, they shouldn't need to put it deep under a mountain. the full resolution of the possible military dimensions of
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iran's program -- we need an arrangement that isn't set to whitewash in issue. iran and and the iaea must resolve this before failure of iran to cooperate with a comprehensive review should result in automatic sanctions now. and, fifth, extend the duration of the agreement. one of the single most concerning elements of the deal is it's 10-15 sunset of the program with offramp starting year eight. we were promised an agreement of significant duration and we got less than half of what we were looking for. and, six, we need agreement now about what penalties will be collectively imposed by the p-5 plus 1 for iranian violations both small and midsized as well as a clear statement as to the so-called grandfather clause in paragraph 37 of the j. poo to ensure that the of the jcpoa.
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separately from the agreement, but at the same time, we should extend the authorization of the iran sanctions act which expires in 2016 to enshower that we have an effective snapback. we should immediate implement the security measures offered to our partners in the gulf summit and camp david while pre-sesqui israel's qualitative military edge. the president should unequivocally confirm and congress should endorse a declares of u.s. policy that we will use all means necessary to prevent iran from producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb as well as building or buying one, both during and after any agreement. after yo all, that's what iran s committing to. we should authorize now the means foyers rail to address the iranian threat on their own in the extent that iran accelerates its program. we must send a message to iran that neither their regional behavior nor nuclear ambitions are permissible. if we push back regionally, they will be less likely to test the limits of our tolerance towards
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any violation of a nuclear agreement. the agreement that has been reached failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve: it failed to stop iran from becoming a nuclear-weapon state at a time of its choosing. in fact, from my view, it authorizes and supports the very road map iran will need to achieve its target. now, i know that the administration will say that our partners will not follow it. the sanctions regime will collapse and they will allow iran to proceed as if our allies weren't worried about iran crossing the nuclear weapons capability threshold anymore. i heard similar arguments from secretary kerry when he was chairman, from wendy sherman and david co-man and others when i was leading the charge to impose new sanctions on iran. that didn't happen then and i don't believe it will happen now. despite what some of our p-5 plus 1 ambassadors have said in trying to rail did i support for the agreement, clearly since they want this deal, they're not going to tell you that they're willing to pursue another deal,
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echoing the administration's admonition that it is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, our p-5 plus 1 partners will still be worried about iran's nuclear weapons desires and the capability to achieve it. and the u.s. is the indispensable partner to ultimately ensure that doesn't happen. they and the businesses from their countries and elsewhere will truly care more about their ability to do business and a u.s. economy of $17 trillion than an iranian economy of $415 billion. and the importance of that economic relationship is palpable as we negotiate ttip, the trans-atlantic and investment partnership. i think it is important to note that over history congress has reject the outright or demanded changes to more than 200 treaties and international agreements, including 80 that were multilateral. so whether or not the supporters of the agreement admit it, this deal is based on hope, hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires, iran will have
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succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration, hope that the hard-liners will have lost their power in the revolution will edge its hegemonic goals, hope that it will allow the iranian people to decide their fate. now, hope is part of museum nature, but, unfortunately, it is not a national security strategy. the iranian regime led by the ayatollah wants, above all, to preserve the regime and its revolution. so it stretches incredulity to say they would sign onto a regime that would weaken the regime. i understand this deal represents a trade-off, a hope that things may be different in iran in 10 to 15 years. maybe iran will desist from its nuclear ambitions, maybe they'll stop supporting terrorism, maybe they'll stop holding innocent americans hostage, maybe they'll stop burning american flags, maybe their leadership will stop
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chanting "death to america" on the streets of tehran -- or maybe they won't. i know in many respects it would be far easier to support this deal, as it would have been to vote for the war in irk at the time. but i didn't choose the easier path then, and i'm not going to now. my devotion to principle may lead m to on popular cost. but if iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it. it is for these reasons that i will vote for cloture and to disapprove the agreement. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: just inquiring ... it is minding that senator warner and senator coons are to speak now, is that correct? the presiding officer: there is no order to that effect. mr. corker: okay. it is my understanding that we would -- the presiding officer: this time is under the control of the democratic leader. mr. corker: how much time is left? that's what i was getting at. mr. durbin: according to the
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note -- the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i would say to the senator from ken tennessee, it is m my understanding that we he two five-minute sessions now. senator warner and senator coons have each sought five minutes. mr. corker: it is my understanding then that we'll have that and then we move to an alternating session until the time of the vote, is that correct? the presiding officer: there is equally divided time until the vote, after the time allotted for the democratic -- mr. corker: ten minutes left on the democratic side? the presiding officer: that's correct. mr. corker: i thank you so much. the presiding officer: 15 minutes left. mr. corker: 15 minutes left. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: my colleagues may proceed. mr. warner: i rise to join my colleagues on speaking on the joint comprehensive plan of afnlings while this deal is far
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from perfect, i believe it is the best option available for us right now for preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear wevmena nuclear weapon. i share many of the scerns expressed bconcerns expressed by colleagues but the choice i had to make was between accepting an imperfect deal or accepting serious ramifications if congress rejects the deal. as i reviewed this agreement, i kept two fundamental questions in mind. one, does this agreement advance the goal of keeping iran free of nuclear weapons? and, two, is there a viable alternative that would be superior to this deal? as many colleagues before me have outlined, this deal outlines a significant reduction in iran' iran's physicallable ml stockpile reducing it by 98%. it restricts iran's production capacity and completely removes
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their ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium. it further limits iran's research and development activities. these reductions and restrictions on iran's nuclear infrastructure will extend iran's breakout time from a matter of months to at least one year over the next 15 years. this agreement also establishes a verification regime that includes inspections and, with the assistance of our intelligence community, verification that goes beyond the four corners of this dpreavment what this means is that we will have significantly more information about iran's nuclear program with this deal than we would have without it. the other major question we have to ask is, is there a viable alternative to this deal? and i have given those opponents numerous opportunities to convince me that there was a viable alternative. the conclusion i've reached is there is not.
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i've been a strong supporter of tough international sanctions to help bring iran to the gorkting table in the first place. since i've been in the senate, i have supported every important piece of sanctions legislation passed by the congress. but during my deliberations, i've spoken with representatives of many foreign governments, not the e.u. or the p-5 plus 1 entirely but also those nations particularly in asia whether they would be willing to uphold sanctions to pressure iran if we turn this deal down. in virtually every case, the response i got from allies and some adversaries was that if congress were to reject this deal, the vast international sanctions that we have in place would fall apart. and as we saw in the literally dozens of years when it was just the united states, unilateral
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sanctions alone with not enough. i have determined that moving forward with this international agreement is the best option now to advance u.s. and world security. i know we've got other members that want to speak. let me add a couple of final comments. while i support this deal, i believe there are additional actions congress can and should take to strengthen it. i want to make sure that we, the united states, has the ability to respond to any iranian activities with all means at our disposal. while the inspections provided in this deal will give us better insight, there's more that we can do. i'm working with my colleagues, both supporters and opponents of the deal, on efforts to shore up its weaker points. i will work to clarify that congress retains the ability to pass sanctions against iran for nonnuclear misbehavior. my hope is that in future legislation that we will spell
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out the disagreement will not shield foreign companies if sanctions must be reimposed because of iranian violations. and i will seek more reporting from the administration, including on how iran uses funds received through sanctions relief. as we move forward i will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to assure security, work with colleagues to assure that israel preserves a qualitative military edge. i will work for ways so israel can stop the advancing nuclear agenda and from other efforts to destabilize the region. we assure this disagreement is just the beginning and not the end of our combined international efforts to keep iran free not just today and not just for the next 15 years but forever from having a nuclear weapon. with that mr. chairman, i yield the floor and before i say my
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colleague from delaware speaks i want to thank him for his efforts. those of us who spent a great deal of time over the last few weeks of august talking about how we can build upon this agreement and make it stronger. he received assurances from the president in letters, and he and i work on others how we work beyond those assurances to make sure we look back on this agreement and make sure that we move not only the issue of peace but the issue of security forward going forward. thank you, mr. president. with that i yield the floor. mr. coons: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i'd like to thank my colleague from the great state of virginia and a couple of other colleagues who have dedicated a great deal of time to reflecting and consulting together on what is the wisest and best path forward. the senator from maryland who is ably leading the floor debate in this minority ranking member on
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the foreign relations committee, and my colleague who will speak after me. we have remarked on the floor by the talented senator from virginia, this is a deal with flaws, with challenges and we must work together to address. and i am hopeful and eager to find that path with the administration and with my colleagues to ensure that we do everything we can to deploy the full measure of america's military and economic capabilities to ensure the security of israel and ensure this agreement now that it is clear will move forward, it is a fully and thoughtfully and thoroughly implemented. mr. president, i want to rise briefly to address what i understand is now a cloture vote at 3:45 today. i'm crit -- on critically issues like the agreement with iran i think the american people deserve to know how their individual members of congress whether in the senate or the house will vote as their representatives. and over the years i've served
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here there have been far too many issues that were decided by a procedural vote, by a cloture vote rather than by getting to the substance of the underlying issue. i think the american people deserve better than to have a critical issue like this complex deal ultimately resolved with a procedural vote. so as we proceed to that vote later today, i just wanted to let those watching now that is not the end of debate on this issue. if the cloture vote fails as i believe it will, it means we simply continue the debate and may take up another vote or several votes next week. leader reid made a fair officer to senator mcconnell to have a single up-or-down vote by a 60-vote margin to clearly show the american people how every member of this chamber feels about this deal to allow us to vote on this substance and it is my hope that the majority leader will reconsider and that either today or next week we will have the opportunity to have that up-or-down vote and let the
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american people people know exactly where each stands and get to the difficult work of building a coalition to deal with the challenges of this deal and the effective path to joining the international community that is joined in the implementation of this deal. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: as an early cosponsor, mr. bennet: it's by that i've had extensive discussion and debate. in 2003, mr. president, iran operated approximately 164 refuges and had virtually no enriched uranium. by 2009 when the administration took office iran was operating
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between 4,000 and 5,000 centrifuges. over the next few years we passed sanctions that the administration to its credit set out to implement and enforce. as the junior member of the banking committee in 2010 i helped write and pass those sanctions. by 2013, even in the grasp of the toughest international sanctions regime, iran had rushed forward and had 19,000 refuges, had ten bombs' worth of uranium and two or three months' breakout time to a bomb. the reality is today iran stands on the threshold of a nuclear weapon. our goal throughout this process has been clear, to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. like many members of this chamber i undertook an exhaustive review. my conclusion is because the agreement is more likely to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon than the plausible alternatives that i
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will vote to support the agreement. it is no surprise to me that there are sincere heartfelt differences of opinion about the merits of this deal. i have deep concerns about what the shape of iran's nuclear program will look like beyond the 15-year horizon. but i also believe that implementation of this agreement is the best of that options. -- of bad options. if we reject this agreement iran will get sanctions relief and there will be no oversight, no oversight of the nuclear program. that is simply an unacceptable result. some have argued that the united states should reject the agreement in favor of returning to the negotiating table. but this logic only holds in the international coalition holds and everything i heard this summer tells me that will not happen. while this agreement has flaws, it is clearly better than the plausible alternatives when it comes to preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and
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it also maintains all of the options available to us today to respond to a move by iran to a breakout of a bomb. it does not eliminate by deep concerns about iran's horrific acts of terror and its hegemonic pursuits but all of iran's malof vent acts would be worse with a nuclear weapon. and our closest ally in the region, we worry about their stabilization. it is, and as far as i am concerned the survival to humanity. for these reasons and for our own security we cannot allow iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. and we must be crystal clear that we will use force to prevent it from doing so. in fact, we will have more credibility to use force if this agreement is in place and have
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more legitimacy when we work to build an international coalition to respond to iranian cheating. there are risks the successful implementation of this agreement and the president and congress must now work together to make it stronger. i've already worked with others in the senate to help push the administration toward that goal. i look forward to working with the chairman and ranking member of the foreign relations committee. my parents john and don had every one and everything they knew taken from them in the holocaust. as my grandmother always told me they were the lucky ones. they had the chance to rebuild their shattered lives in a country that accepted them and let them succeed beyond any dream they ever had. we live in dangerous times. and whether you support the agreement or not, we must develop a cohesive strategy for u.s. policy in the middle east that addresses the grave
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security concerns in the region. separate from iran's nuclear program, it is threatened by war, sectarian violation, and acts of barbaric brutality that belong to some other century. we should seize this opportunity to play a role in these strives. our young men and women in armed services have survived so much. none of us can you doubt they would rise to may challenge anywhere in the world. i believe we honor their courage and spirit if we sacrifice by exhausting diplomat ig options before turning to military ones. this is not a sign of weakness but a sign of hopefulness. if ultimately we turn to military actions, our primary objectives are to prevent iran from having a nuclear weapon, make sure israel is safe and if possible avoid another war in the middle east.
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this agreement prevents a flawed but important step toward accomplishing those goals, and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and say again to the chairman and ranking member how much i appreciate their efforts on this -- on this matter and so many others. i yield the floor. mr. corker: it is my understanding --. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: brief comments alternating between the two sides and we begin with senator gardner. mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: mr. president, i thank the chairman of the foreign relations committee for his work, the countless hearings and briefings we have had to fully understand the details, the fine details and scrutinize every aspect of the agreement that is now before us. i thank the ranking member and the senator from new jersey as well for their tireless efforts on the committee when it comes to the process that is before us.
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mr. president, make no mistake. there is not a single member in this body, the united states senate or house of representatives, or the public that would complain about the president's initial goals, the goals he laid out as recently as october of 2012 as he began negotiations with iran. and i quote the president. our goal is to get iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by resolutions that have been in place. the deal we'll accept is the end of their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. but the deal we got from the administration is anything but straightforward ending of a nuclear program. i listened very carefully to the hearings we had, the classified briefings. i studied the language of the text. language that says things like
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request for access pursuant to the jcpoa will be made in good faith with due observance of the sovereign rights of iran and to the minimum, the verification under this jcpoa. senator collins from maine just a couple of days ago said it very well. not only will iran retain its nuclear capability but it will also be a far richer nation and one that has more conventional technology than it possesses today. this doesn't end the nuclear program as the president stated as his goals, it continues it. it paves a pathway to industrial complex in iran with the blessing of the international community, today flooring community, a lifting of the arms embargo, a lifting of the arms embargo, and that's a good
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deal for us? over the last several days i've heard can colleague after colleague supporting this deal say things like this deal is flawed, it's not the best, it needs improvement. since when did a bad option in the united states senate become the only option in the united states senate? since when did seconds, third, fourth, fifth best for this country become the best for this country? several months ago i had the opportunity as have many colleagues to visit with prime minister netanyahu, the the nuclear tripwire that will be set up because this does not end iran's nuclear program. but through this keel we've given up the golden nuggets of leverage we had with iran.
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our sanctions were beginning to work, the briefings we all attended where analysts have said our sanctions are supporting support for the regime day daily, bringing them to the table. and yet the deal that we have allows continueed uranium enrichment, repeal of resolutions, removal of from their agenda. and that's the bargain that the united states is about to enter into. we talk over the past several days about the status quo versus hypothetical. here's one we'll about about to enter into. in five years allows conventional arms to resume to iran. a status quo that will allow ballistic missiles to resume in eight years. advanced centrifuge research to continue. as the chairman of the committee stated yesterday one ir-8 could
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replace thousands of their centrifuges, they will be allowed to keep for isotope purposes. why do they need ballistic missiles? conventional arms or radiation treatment? we de-sanction and delisted numerous individuals, people who were the fathers of the iranian nuclear program, the a.q. chan of iran, de-sanctiosanctioned, d under this agreement. conglomerates are de-sanctioned. a group of companies that were de-sanctioned in 2003 because of their threat to the world financial system, that conglomerate is now de-sanctioned under the terms of this deal. sure the united states gets to sanction them on our own, but as we've heard today, yesterday, the day before, captions against the united states -- that the united states has apparently
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aren't enough and that's why we have to enter into this deal. yet we have the sword of damocles held over the iranians' head that apparently aren't good enough when we do them on our own. one of the things that hasn't been talked about enough is a letter that secretary kerry sent to every senator on september 2, around the same day that enough votes were achieved to block or sustain the president's filibuster. in the first paragraph of this letter that every senator received, there are two sentences that i want to make sure that everybody here recognizes. we share the concern expressed by -- again, the letter from secretary certificatey. "we share the concern expressed by many in congress regarding iran's continued support for terrorist and proxy groups throughout the region. it's propping up of the assad regime in syria, its effort to undermine the stability of its regional neighbors and the threat it poses to israel.
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iisrael." "we have to illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the joint agreement." "we have no illusion that iran's behavior will change." that's the status quo. the letter goes on to detail what we are going to do, though, once this deal is entered into. additional u.s. and gulf council countries, working groups are focused on counterterrorism, military, the goal of building political support for multicultural -- mullly lateral ballistic missile defense cooperation. so we're going to enter into some deals to fight ballistic missiles that this deal allows in eight years. the letter goes on to say, "we'll push back against iran's arms transfers." conventional arms impartial lifted in five years. the letter goes on to say that "we will work on missile technology control regimes,
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guidelines about the transfer of sensitive systems like ballistic missile technology," and yet this deal allows ballistic missiles in eight years. u.s. support for israel and our gulf partners has never been a partisan issue," the letter goes ton saivment "and we believe these proposals would receive wide bipartisan support." mr. president, this is a partisan deal with bipartisan opposition. and i would submit to you that the only element of bipartisanship on the senate floor today is the opposition. and i urge my colleagues to vote to invoke cloture. the american people deserve to know where the united states senate stands and deserves to know where their member of the senate stands with the united states. mr. president, i yield back my time.
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the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: mr. president, i rise today to speak about the joint comprehensive plan of action agreement on the iran deal. i ask unanimous consent that my entire statement, the meticulous way i have arrived at my decision, be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: mr. president, too, i just want to comment that as we move forward to voting later on this afternoon, i deeply regret that the proposal offered by the democratic leader, mr. reid, was rejected so that every senator could vote not on a procedural vote that will be so determinative but that our name would be called for the record to show where we, by our name, took that position. and i regret that we are now so entangled in parliamentary
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maneuvering that we're losing sight of how we should really proceed in governing. but enough about procedure and process. let's go on with the vote. this vote is the most serious that i've taken in a number of years. this -- and the reason for that is that it'll be irrevocable. this vote has monumental and enduring consequences. throughout my review of this deal, my questions have always been, how does it deal with the safety and security of the united states and how does it deal with the safety, security, and viability of the state of israel? from all of my time in both the house and the senate, i've been an unabashed and unwavering supporter of israel. i persistently supported the sanctions that brought us -- that brought iran to the table. i've been insistent and persistent on foreign aid and military assistance to israel
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that maintains its qualitative military edge on missile defense. and, mr. president, with the horrors of the holocaust in mind, i have been deeply committed to the need for a jewish homeland for the state of israel that is and has the inherent ability to defend itself and that israel can always count on the united states of america as an unwavering partner in its defense. i have always been and will always be committed to those principles. however, my conclusions are that this deal does block the four pathways to a nuclear bomb, that this deal does create the most robust and extensive verification system ever produced by the iaea, that iran will be the most heavily inspe
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inspected nuclear state that has ever been -- that has existed since their history, the history of the international atomic energy agency. the conditions for the lifting of the sanctions are strict and verifiable and that the lifting of the sanctions, though, comes more quickly than i would like; i believe that snapback could work. but after looking at all of the alternatives, which i believe have limited efficacy, i want to declare that i will support the agreement. let me tell you how i got there. i took an extensive review of this deal, covering every aspect of it. i actually read both the classified and the unclassified annexes, every single page. i met with u.s. diplomats, nuclear experts, national security staff. i met with critics of the bill.
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i met with constituents on both sides. i went to every classified and unclassified briefing, and you actually went -- and i actually went to convenient republican to meet with the international atomic energy agency and spent a great deal of time delving into their staff, their capacity, their capability, and their integrity and their independence. i did my homework and asked the tough questions. first, does it block the four pathways to a nuclear bomb? yes, i believe it does, because, mr. president, there are no shortcuts to a nuclear bomb. this deal blocks iran's ability to have weapon-grade plutonium and the arak -- that's a-r-a-k -- it dramatically and drastically cuts the uranium
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capabilities, reducing the centrifuges at fordow and i in natanz. and also, third, equally important, monitors what it takes to build a nuclear bomb. the uranium supply chain and the procurement chain, and it does it for 25 years. it also reduces the uranium stockpile below levels needed to make a bomb. the answer to other questions are is it verifiable and do inspections work to detect and overt and covert violation of the agreement? the answer is, yes, i believe it does. the iaea has extensive access to iranian declared nuclear sites, making the detection of violations and the detection of any covert program more likely.
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it has direct access to centrifuge manufacturing sides and to conduct inspections on short notice. in answer to my fourth question, does the iaea have capacity, capability, integrity, and independence to do this, from talking to both those in the nuclear field as well as the visit 10 vienna, i would say -- to vienna, i would say yes. i believe it has sufficient expertise and independence to implement this deal. but i must also caution my colleagues. in order for the international atomic energy agency to do its job, we will need to monitor the resources of that agency and not engage in shenanigans in the c.r. to defund the iaea to ostensibly derail this deal. if you don't like the deal, your vote is today. in answering my fifth question
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is, what sanctions will be lifted and under what quns? -- and under what conditions? i sure would have preferred a glide path of three years or longer but under the agreement, sanctions will be suspended, not terminated. everybody has to understand this. sanctions will be suspended and terminated. iran has to take certain steps in its uranium enrichment program, allow for the proper inspections and others. only after the iaea completes its assessment will it be possible to be able to suspend sanctions. now, do i think snapback will work? russia, china, and india and our european partners share a common interest in iran not having a nuclear weapon. i believe they would support a snapback in sanctions if
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violations were identified and verified. but the snapback sanction neck mechanism is innovative and untested. that takes me to the alternatives. is it an adequate deal? the answer is yes. is it a magnificent deal? not so sure. but what are the alternatives? i believe that the alternatives that -- that the alternatives are extremely limited and they have limited efficacy. the two alternatives are more sanctions and military action. some have suggested that if we reject this deal, we should impose unilateral sanctions and force iran back to the table. i don't -- i think it's very unclear if the e.u., russia, china, india and others would continue sanctions, and if you don't think snapback will work, enhanced sanctions won't work for the same reason. then there's the possibility of
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military action. i believe the military option should be on the table, absolutely. but taking military strikes against iran would only set the program back three years. it would not terminate the iranian nuclear effort, which they have right now. and we have to realize where is iran now? they have nuclear capability. we're blocking their pathway to a bomb. now, no deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with an iranian regime, but i believe i.tit's the best deal availableo block iran from having a nuclear bomb, and for this, i will support the deal with my vote. mr. cotton: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: would the chair advise both sides of the time remaining. the presiding officer: republicans have 11 minutes, 20 seconds. democrats have nief five minute,
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five seconds. mr. cotton: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: over the past five months, we've learned much about the joint comprehensive plan of action and the intentions of iran's ayatollahs. the nuclear deal will release billions of dollars to the terrorists sponsoring the regime. we know terrorists who have killed americans will be relieved of international sanctions. we know of side deals between the iaea and iran that may entrust the iranian regime to entrust its own information samples at its most secret facilities, allowing iran to monitor itself instead of insisting on independent inspections. we know the right to enrich at all, which this administration conceded early on this these negotiations, will trigger an arms race in the middle east. just this week the ambassador from the united air be a emirates told the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee that if this deal goes through, the u.a.e. may no
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longer abide by its commitments and may begin an enrichment program. i fear saudi arabia, turkey and other countries may follow suit. we know the ayatollahs, fresh from the negotiating table at vienna, continue to lead cuds crowds and issue threats at our president and people. and, yes, we know that the deal will begin to expire in a mere 10 to 15 years unleashing a nuclear-capable iran on a world free of international sanctions on a healthier economy and without the restraints american diplomacy cultivated over the past decade. but in the end our vote on the iran nuclear deal won't turn on any of these particulars. ultimately this vote isn't about specific centrifuge numbers or enrichment levels or the exact scope of sanction relief. no, it's simpler than that. this vote is about history. it's about the responsibility of
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this senate and the greatest republic in history. it's about where we want the course of history to lead for our children and our grandchildren. this vote is not about a party or a president. after all, the iranians chant "death to america" not death to democrats, not death to republicans, not death to our president. but "death to america." just this week the iranians again labeled america the great satan. so this vote is about empowering an evil terror-sponsoring regime and continuing this history or seizing a moment to change history. because if this deal is approved, in just a few years iran may test a nuclear device as north korea did in 2006, just 12 years after a similar nuclear agreement. with a rumbling explosion that will shake the earth, iran may announce its status as a nuclear power in the opening of a second nuclear age that our nation has struggled so long to prevent. if iran goes nuclear, history will not remember kindly the senators who supported this
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nuclear deal. it won't remember the hand wringing, aing wish speeches, gullible beliefs about the flawed inspection system and soft racializations that this deal -- rationizations that this deal is better than nothing. history will only remember your vote and only your vote. it will remember you opened the gate to iran's nuclear. it will remember you as the ones who flipped the strategic balance of the middle east and the world for the favor of our enemies. and it will remember you, this senate and this president as the ones who when given the chance to stop the world's worst sponsor of terrorism from obtaining the world's worst weapon blinked when confronted with this evil. a world menaced by a nuclear capable iran is a terrifying prospect. over the past few decades iran raged a low intensity war on the united states and partners. iran financed and trained
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hezbollah to do bidding as their proxy. iran fueled a virulent conservancy whose roadside bombs and suicide attacks devastated aircraft and sadly killed thousands of troops. iran has propped up syrian dictator bashar al-assad creating a crisis that engulf ed of the entire region and is spreading to other parts of the world. iran has done all this without nuclear weapons. should it be allowed to continue enrichment and conduct research and development on nuclear technology as this deal lets it, the ayatollahs will grow more braisen, fearsome and wreckless. upon the expiration of this deal and repudiation of the ayatollahs at a time of their choosing, iran's terror and intimidation will become nuclearized. that is the world we may face in a few short years because of your vote. that is the world we'll confront
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if you put this on a jihadist regime in tehran. we should recognize the context of this vote isn't a debate fast coming to a close. the context isn't demagoguery or back room pressure from a lame duck president and it isn't the effect of this vote on our political fortunes. the context is the impact on broad history. winston churchill spoke of british appeasement. he observed the era of procrass nation, half measures and soothe expedience is coming to a close. in its place we're entering a period of consequences. churchill's words are as true today as they were then. we are entering a period of consequences. the cause of the vote today, the consequences may well be nuclear. god help us all if they are. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i am pleased that shortly we'll have a chance to vote. i would have preferred the vote to be on the final passage of the resolution with a 60-vote threshold. i regret that that was not agreed to. i will vote what i think is in the best interest of our country to keep iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state and our best chance to avoid a military option. i've already indicated that i intend to oppose the agreement, and i've given my reasons on the floor, and i will not repeat that at this moment. but i want to talk about what happens after this vote is over and whatever votes take place next week with the deadline being next thursday. at that time i hope everyone here recognizes that it's important for us to put division aside. i just want to remind some of my colleagues that what happened 14 years ago on a vote with iraq.
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i voted against that resolution, and when that vote was over democrats and republicans, proponents and opponents joined together to support our troop and our mission under the leadership of president bush to give america the best chance for its foreign policy to succeed. so when the votes are over, i hope that democrats and republicans, proponents and opponents of the plan will work out congressional involvement working with the president gives us our best opportunity to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state and gives us the least risk of using a military option. i say that because my colleague from maryland outlined that very clearly. a military option, although we must have that option in our quill, a military option will not solve the problem, and it has a lot of collateral
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consequences. i hope that we can work together, because that's what's in the best interest of the united states senate. that's what's in the best interest of the united states of america. i look forward to working with senator corker and all members of the senate foreign relations committee and united states senate to see how congress can work together with our president so that we can achieve that goal. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: mr. president, i'll be brief. i know the senator from tennessee would like to close on this matter. i think everybody that needs to be said about the details of this deal have been said. i do want to be recorded for history's purposes because i know what's going to happen with regard to this if it goes through. iran will use the money to build up its conventional capabilities. it will establish the most dominant military power in the region outside of the united
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states and it will raise the price of us operating in the region. they're going to build antiaccess capabilities, rockets capable of destroying aircraft carriers and ships, continue to build swift boats, fast boats that are able to swarm our naval assets and make it harder for u.s. troops to be in the region. they'll work with other terrorist groups in the region to target american service men and women and they may deny that they're involved but they will target us and raise the price of our presence in the middle east until they hope to pull us out of that region. they'll continue to build long range missiles, missiles capable of reaching the united states and they'll continue to build them as they have been doing. at some point in the near future when the time is right they will build a nuclear weapon and they will do so because at that point they will know that they have become immune, that we will no longer be able to strike their nuclear program because the price of doing so will be too high. this is not just a work of imagination. it exists in the world today. it's called north korea, where a
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lunatic possesses dozens of nuclear weapons and a long-range rocket that can already reach the united states. and we cannot do anything about it. an attack on north korea today would result in an attack on tokyo or seoul or guam or hawaii or california. and so the world must now live with a lunatic in possession of nuclear weapons. and this is the goal iran has as well, to reach a point where they become immune to any sort of credible military threat because the price of a military strike would be too high. and then they become an established nuclear weapons power. and never in the history of the world has such a regime ever possessed weapons so capable of destruction. iran is led by a supreme leader who is a radical shia cleric with an apocalyptic vision of the future. he is not a traditional geopolitical actor who makes decisions on the basis of border or history or because of ambitions. he has a religious apocalyptic
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vision of the few you -- future one he that he feels especially obligated to trigger. and he's going to possess nuclear weapons. this is the world that we are on the verge of leaving our children to inherit, and perhaps we ourselves will have to share in. so i want to be recorded for history's purposes of nothing else, to say those of us who oppose this deal understood where it would lead, and we are making a terrible mistake. and i fear that passage of this deal will make it even harder for us to prevent it. and i hope there's still time for us to change our minds but here's the good news. iran may have a supreme leader but america does not. in this nation we have a republic and soon we'll have new leaders not only in this chamber but also in the executive branch. i pray in their first day in office they will revisit this deal or history will condemn us for not doing what needed to be done at this critical moment in the world's history.
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i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: a lot has been said about the impact of this agreement. i'd like to speak for a moment about the impact of no agreement. what if the republicans and those who oppose this agreement have their way and this agreement goes away. iran is still a nuclear threshold state. if you have your way and stop this agreement, the result will be literally leaving an iran the capacity to build ten nuclear weapons today. and the timing on that, two to three months before they have the fissile material for a nuclear weapon, if you have your way and kill this agreement. that is some holiday surprise, that if we walk away from this agreement, this effort for inspection that iran could develop a nuclear weapon. that is the reality. if you have your way, there'll be no inspectors. iran will be closed off to the world. how can that possibly make the
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middle east safer for israel, for any other country in the world? how can it make it safer if we as a coalition who have worked so hard to build this agreement fail in the effort? what i've listened for in the last three days of debate is any suggestion from the other side of the aisle about what is the alternative to this agreement. now some have been bold enough to say it's military, and we shouldn't wince at the prospect of a military solution. one senator on your side of the aisle said four days is all we need, take them out. we'll take care of iran. i've heard that before, my friends. i heard it before the invasion of iraq where we were going to be greeted as liberators and it would be a matter of weeks before our troops would be coming home. it didn't turn out that way. what we are trying to do and what the president is trying to do is to start a diplomatic process to avoid the military option, to avoid a war. that is why i'm supporting it.
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i think it is the right thing to do. i'm sorry that the vote we're about to cast here is a procedural vote. twice senator reid has asked senator mcconnell to give us a straight up-orp-down clean vote on this resolution of disapproval by a 60 vote margin. twice senator mcconnell objected and insisted on this procedural vote. we know where everyone stands. everyone in this chamber has publicly declared where they stand on this matter. that should be the roll call that we take next. but unfortunately we're faced with a procedural roll call: i will close by saying one word about the members on this side of the aisle. for six weeks i have contacted them, in fact harassed them, asking them what they were going to do on this important question. and for any people who are critical of this senate, believing it's too superficial and too partisan, i will tell you on this side of the aisle, they took their time, they read the agreements. they were briefed by the intelligence agencies and department of defense, and they made up their mind and announced
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their position publicly. i think that is what we all believe to be our responsibility. as we close this debate here, i ask those, if they support the agreement, to vote "no" on the cloture motion. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: before i make closing comments, i would ask unanimous consent to waive the mandatory quorum call with respect to the cloture vote this afternoon. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. corker: mr. president, i want to begin by thanking the vast majority of this body for the fact that over, for four times since 2010, members of this body almost unanimously passed sanctions that brought iran to the table. people on both sides of the aisle. and i want to thank people for that. i want to thank this body for
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another thing. when we realized that the president was going to negotiate with iran and do so through what was called a nonbinding political commitment, and he was going to take this agreement directly to the u.n. security council, he was not going to cause it to be a treaty, but he was going to cause it an agreement that he could execute without our involvement, because of the fact that we brought iran to the table through the sanctions that we collectively put in place, we rose up and we passed a bill on a 98-1 basis that allowed us to go through this process that we're going through today. i want to thank senator cardin who has been an outstanding ranking member. i want to thank menendez before him who was an outstanding chairman and ranking member. what this agreement said we would do is we would debate -- i want to stop there and say that i think we've had a dignified debate. i think people on both sides of the aisle have handled
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themselves as united states senators, and i'm very proud of that. the other piece of that was that we would vote, thataway -- that we would let the people of this country know where we stood. we have a bipartisan majority that disapproves this deal, the most substantial foreign policy people on the democratic side oppose this deal. always we've known, yes, we were going to do this under regular order, and under regular order, what that means is there is this procedural vote where the senate decides that debate has ended and we're going to move to a final vote. we're at that juncture, and i ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that on a 98-1 basis voted to allow us to vote to now vote yes on this cloture motion, to allow each member of
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this senate that has handled themselves so responsibly to be able to record on a majority basis where we stand on this issue. the majority of the people in the senate believe that this deal that's been negotiated is not in the national interests of this country, will not make our nation or the middle east safer, and i hope that all of us are going to have that opportunity to vote after we pass this procedural hurdle. i hope that all members will vote to allow this to proceed on to a final -- final vote within the next few days. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on senate amendment numbered 2640, signed by 17 senators.
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the presiding officer: the -- by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate the debate on amendment numbered 2640 offered by the senator from kentucky, mr. mcconnell, to h.j. res. 61 shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: is there anyone who wishes to vote or change their vote? the yeas are 58, the nays are 42. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the majority leader. the presiding officer: order, please. please take your conversations off the floor. order, please. the presiding officer: please take your conversations off the floor.
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the presiding officer: order, please. order, please. please take your conversations off the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to withdraw the cloture motion with respect to h.j. res. 61. mr. reid: no objection. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i send a cloture motion to the desk for amendment number 2640. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions
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of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do with -- do hereby move to bring to close debate on senate amendment number 2640, signed by 17 senators -- mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the reading of the names be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk for h.j. res. 1. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on h.j. res. 61, a joint resolution amending the internal revenue code of 1986, and so forth. signed by 17 senators as follows. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the names reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell:: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the issue before us is of immense importance to our nation. the american people are to have
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this. until recently this was a principle of both parties seemed to endorse rather overwhelmingly. in fact, not a single democrat, not one, mr. president, not a single democrat voted against the iran nuclear agreement review act. we all recall it passed 98-1. they told us this was an issue too important for political games. here's what one democratic colleague said just last week. as a caucus that was opposed to games and filibusters over the last four years, i would think it would be really regrettable if we didn't ultimately go to the floor and cast our votes for or against this deal. that was last week, apparently.
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democratic senators just voted to filibuster and block the american people from even having a real vote on one of the most consequential foreign policy issues of our time. it's telling, it's telling, that democrats would go to such extreme lengths to prevent president obama from having to consider legislation on this issue. the president so proud of this deal? then he shouldn't be afraid. shouldn't be afraid. we all know the amount of time the administration spent up here asking all these guys over here to take a bullet for the team. and, of course, the team is team obama. they all wanted the to have a say. and when it came time to have a say, they said it was more important that the president not
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have to veto the resolution of disapproval. more important to him than to them. this is a deal which is designed to go around congress and the american people from the very start. we all remember the president didn't want to submit it to us at all. this was going to be an executive agreement, is still an executive agreement, didn't want us to have any say at all. senator corker and senator karen , cardin worked together, an proposal overwhelmingly proposed and supported to give us a chance to weigh in on this important deal. it would empower iran to maintain thousands of centrifuges and become a recognized nuclear threshold state forever on the edge of developing a nuclear weapon. that's what's before us. that's what's before us. it would effectively subsidize
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hamas and the regime by the way which is now going to include russian military base in syria, by showering tens of billions of dollars on their benefactors in tehran. to leave iran with enrichment capability just as the, calls for israel's destruction and pray every day for our destruction. this deal is sure to have many consequences that will last well beyond this administration. and yet as things presently stand, it would limp along with little or no input from congress or from the american people. who, by the way, we know overwhelmingly oppose the deal in spite of the president's best effort to sell it to them. this shouldn't be an acceptable outcome for our friends on the
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other side, even those who support the deal. i predicted early and predicted earlier today we'll have a raft of new bash-iran proposals introduced by friends on the other side. who are going to be born again iran bashers. so let me make it clear to all my colleagues, we have voted, we're going to vet again but we are voting on this iran nuclear agreement review act. we're not going to be taking up bills that have fewer than a -- cosponsors to override a presidential veto. if you want to make a law, like we did with the corker-cardin, show us enough cosponsors to make a law.
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but we're not interested in using floor time forget well efforts over on the other side to try to fool the constituents into thinking, oh, i really, really was serious about iran in spite of the fact that i voted for the deal that you hate. we've only got so much floor time here in the senate. we're going to try to use it on serious proposals that have a chance 0 of becoming law. now my assumption is the president is not going to want to revisit this issue. he got what he wanted. he's not going to want to revisit this issue. so if we want to do anything further about this iranian regime, bring me a bill with enough cosponsors to override a presidential veto and we'll take
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a look at it. otherwise, the american people will give us their judgment about the appropriateness of this measure a year from november. because this is not an ordinary issue. this is an issue with a real shelf life. this is a regime that's still going to be there a year and a half from now. and, of course, we know it's an executive order only. so if perchance there is a president of a different party, i would say to my iranian observers of the debate that it will be looked at anew baseed upon iranian behavior between now and then. as others have said, the
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iranian parliament apparently is going to get to weigh in. i heard the chairman of the foreign relations committee say that. i guess they're going to get a vote. but our friends here on the other side want to employ a procedural device which is the democratic leader's pointed out is commonly used around here but the question is on 0 not what kind of measure is it used. this is no ordinary measure. this is different. this is different. so we'll have another opportunity to see whether we want to move past this procedural device. the president's proud of the deal. i don't know why he would be reluctant to veto a resolution of disapproval that's put on his desk. he's having press conferences about it. he's bragging about it. he thinks it's great. i don't know what they're protecting him from.
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i think he'd have a veto ceremony and invite all you guys down there to join him and celebrate. what are you protecting him from? we'll have a chance next week, one more chance to allow him to say how he feels about the resolution of disapproval. we know how he feels about it already. for the life of me, i can't get why he is reluctant to veto this resolution of disapproval, in effect underscoring again what a great deal he thinks it is for america. so we'll revisit the issue next week and see if maybe any folks want to change their minds and give us a chance to remove the procedural roadblock and give the president what he's been asking for.
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give him what he's been asking for. i yield the floor. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i want to be as respectful of my friend as i need to be. but let's speak reality. we are in a congress that is dominated by the republicans. they control the house by a large margin, they control the senate by a large margin. the legislation that is before this body was proposed and legislated and brought to us by a republican leadership. it's their legislation, not ours. i've -- i've -- didn't spend all my time in my office visiting people. i watched the speeches. and it was stunning the nonreality that's facing my republican friends. they dwelled a number of them on what's going on in the middle
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east. not once, not once did anyone ever mention the worst foreign policy decision ever made by our great country, the invasion of iraq. invasion of iraq. it destabilized that part of the world for a long, long time to come, for what? so my friends can blame all the problems in the middle east on the president but they're blaming the wrong person. we can't take what we have because they want to rewrite history. history isn't -- people write history as it is. part of the history that is -- they're trying to rewrite is the history that's taken place in this body. we offered on two separate
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occasions publicly before the american people and in this body, you want a vote, we'll let you have a vote. it was both times objected to because in the convoluteed reasoning i guess of my friend, he thinks that people were watching this have no common sense, can't understand the english language. we offered to have a vote on this on two separate occasions. it was objected to both times. now this is the inane response is you're filibustering us. i know a lot about filibusters because we've had to file cloture more than 600 times because of filibusters by the republicans. never in the history of the country has there been anything close to that. now, what were most of those on? on motions to proceed.
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on this legislation that came behalf this body we said we don't need a vote on a motion to proceed. go to the bill. go to it. we also said as part of the agreement, let the leader offer the first amendment. and he did that. now, 60-vote threshold. my friend talks as if, oh, wow, where in the world did this come from? why would they ever consider 60 votes on this? well, mr. president, first of all, i know it's late in the day, i didn't bring the subject up, but my friend, the republican leader is talking about a world that doesn't exist anymore. and who created this world that doesn't exist anymore? my republican friends. july 30, 2011, from senator mcconnell, now look, we know
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controversial matters in the senate has been for quite some time requires 60 votes. so i'd say again to my friend -- that's me -- pretty hard to make a credible case anything other than a filibuster. a while later, quote -- "i wish to make clear to the american people that the republicans are willing to vote on a proposal within 30 minutes, an hour, as soon as we can get our colleagues to floor. require 60 votes on a matter of enormous importance, it's not at all unusual, it's the way the senate operates" -- close quote. another one, a few months later, mr. president, i can only quote my good friend -- that's me -- who repeatedly said in 2011 the senate has always been in need for 60 votes. this is my good friend the majority leader when he was the leader in july of 2007 and said repeatedly when he was the minority as leader and the
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majority as leader that requires 60 votes for matters that are controversial. there is no question, the measure before this body using the words of my friend the republican leader is something that is important. something important. and there is no question this measure has been controversial. it is also, as he -- i am using his word words -- is this legisn of enormous importance? i think so. at least in my mind. a little while later -- so who gets to decide, my friend says? who's wasting time? none of us. none of us have had authority to decide who's wasting time. if you get 60 votes at some point and you move the matter, the best way is to have an open amendment process. that's the way it place used to operate. that's an editorial comment. two or three months later -- madam president, reserving the
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right to object, what we're talking about is a perpetual grant proceeding. i'd ask my friend, the majority leader, if he would modify his unanimous consent request, set the threshold for the vote at 60. "as we all know, it takes 60 votes to do everything except the budget process, we anticipate having a vote to proceed to the bill sometime before the end of the year as well." that was just early part of august this year. so, mr. president, my friend is in dire straits. and i understand that. the house is in a terrible state of disaray. they don't know what they're going to do. they -- on the one hand, what they say they are are going to, the president -- can't send the papers to them, so they voants have a vote on that. en this they turn around and have a vote on the resolution of
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disapproval. i guess they don't need the papers for that. then they're going to vote on more sanctions. and then they don't know what they're going to do. it is very unusual when the -- when one party controls both branches of the bicameral legislature if they don't kind of work together. but obviously there's no working together here. so i understand my friend's frustration. this is the situation where he's lost the vote. and it's a situation, mr. president, where he is simply not in touch with reality as it exists. so i want to say to everyone within the sound of my voice, the senate has spoken and has spoken with a clarion voice. that's what this agreement is all about. it is about whether or not iran should have a nuclear weapon and
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the countries that you wouldn't think would be involved in appellate courting something like this, but they know the importance of it themselves. they agreed to go alopping with this agreement. they helped us negotiate it. china, russia, they agreed to t the senate has spoken with a clarion voice and declared that this historic agreement to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon will stand. so, i say to my fellow americans -- and i say that with all respect for everybody that's out there listening or reading about this -- our allies, negotiating partners should know that today's outcome is clear, decisive and final. there's now no doubt whatsoever that the united states congress will allow this historic agreement to proceed. efforts by opponents to derail this agreement were soundly rejected by a margin much larger
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than anyone thought achievable even a few days ago. any future attempts, as my friend is talking about, to relitigate this issue, as i guess we're going to be in a position with the affordable care act, going to try to repeal it 60 times? going to try to break that record? any future attempts to relitigate that issue is -- in the senate will meet the same outcome. it will be nothing more than wasteful time, time we can't afford to waste. a shutdown looming in a matter of weeks. more disaray from my friends, the republicans. government was closed two years ago for almost three weeks. so we take those threats seriously. and i would hope that we could get around doing something about that rather than having wasted cloture motion on something that we agreed to have a vote. cloture is an effort to -- a
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filibuster is an effort to stop debate. we have said when i came in here tuesday -- tuesday, wednesday, thursday, you want more time than that to debate, go ahead and do it. we're not in any way stopping debate, as was done by my republican colleagues hundreds of times in years past. so this can be relitigated. let's do it over 60 times to try to break the affordable care act record, if you choose. but this matter is over with. it's something of so much importance that we should move on to something else. we have so much to do in this body, so much to do. we have our highway situation that is deteriorating. we have hundreds of thousands of bridges that are in a state of disrepair that need refurbishing, some of them need to be replaced. our highway system -- we met today with the regional highway
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transportation system, someone that represents 80% of the population in our state, and we're in desperate shape all over nevada for doing something about highways. but we're not doing anything about highways. we're fiddling around on that, patching stuff, we got something done -- i was happy to get that done. we have cybersecurity. as we're here talking right now in this body, we have groups, individuals, and countries that are trying to hack us -- and not trying, they're doing it. we have not had the ability to get cybersecurity legislation before this body. something we did, it was brought up -- it is an afterthought. we have senator burr, senator feinstein -- the bill that they produced is not nigh faimplets i think we could do better than that. but i support their legislation. we've got to do something. let's start someplace, doing something that's important for the american people. so i say to everyone here, it is
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time we move on to something else. this matter is over. you can continue to relitigate it, but it's going to have the same result. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: as the democratic leader frequently reminded me when he was the majority leader, the majority leader always gets the last word. i enjoyed hearing the democratic leader's history lesson going back, as i recount -- i'm sure i'll leave some out -- the iraq war resolution, which he voted for, as did hillary clinton, the resuscitation of past debates from obamacare to you name it, including complaining about highways, a bill that senator boxer and i worked on and actually passed that he voted against, which hopefully will soon be in conference. but none of that has anything to do with what's before us today.
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the issue before us today is the iran nuclear agreement. we know how the american people feel about it. they're over whelmingly opposed to it. we know how the realiz israelist it. they're overwhelmingly opposed to it. we know that our sunni-arab allies are now visiting the russians to talk about arms purchases because they don't trust us anymore. we know the president wanted to transform the middle east, and by golly, he has. our friends don't trust us and our enemies were emboldened. so the issue is not over. the democratic leader is saying the issue is over. doesn't make it over. this agreement and the foreign policy of this administration, best summed up by jimmy koart a couple of months ago. he was asked to sum up the obama
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administration foreign policy. this is almost a direct quote. he said he couldn't think of a single place in the world where we were in better shape now than we were when the president came to office. jimmy carter. so foreign policy will be a big issue going into 2016, and this agreement is a metaphor for all of the mistakes that this president has made -- you name the area of the world and you'll see the results. so no a saying the issue is over -- so no amount of saying the issue is over makes it over. we'll have an opportunity again next week to move past this procedural snag, to give all members of the senate an opportunity to vote up or down on a resolution of disapproval, which we know is supported on a bipartisan basis, and i end with
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this: there's bipartisan opposition to this deal, bipartisan opposition to this deal. only democrat support. and so if the president is so proud of it, i can't figure out what these folks over here are protecting him from. you guys would all be invited down to the veto signing. break out the champagne. celebrate. take credit for it. you own it. i yield the floor. mr. reid: [inaudible] i'm going to be fairly short here. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: i'm glad my friend brought up my vote on iraq. i've stated on national tv, i've
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stated every chance i get, my biggest mistake i've ever made in my public service is voting for that bill. i said i learned it quickly. it was just a matter of a few short months after i voted that i realized i had been misled in voting for that. doesn't mavment matter. i voted for it. and some say in some of circles, i've repented publicly for having done that. and so my feeling about the iraq war has not changed. the mere fact that i voted for that. i would also say this: in closing, i hope the one thing that we can agree on here, as democrats and republicans, is the ability of iran for the next 15 years to build nuclear weapons is pretty well taken care of. but the one thun thing i hope wn
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agree on is i would hope we could work together to make sure we continue, as indicated in the letter that senator kerry wrote to everybody, all of us, and the cardin legislation -- i hope everyone will take a look at that because, as said in a statement i gave on tuesday morning, i looked at what was suggested in the kerry letter, more safe, more secure, and some of the suggestions that senator cardin had in his utline. these are things i hope we can work together on. put this to one side, for the time being. but let's hope in the future we can work together to make sure the only true democracy in that part of the world is an ally of ours. we'll continue everything we can to make sure that, i repeat, they're safe and secure. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate majority leader. mr. mcconnell: there's no question the israelis need a lot of reinforcement.
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no question they need to know for sure that we're on their side. because this administration has just entered into an agreement that by all objective standards could even threaten their very existence. so i think it's -- there's no question the israelis need every reassurance we can possibly give them. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: i want to rise to offer some thoughts on the colloquy we just heard from the majority leader and from our leader. and i want to say a word about process and i want to say a word about partisanship. let me start with a word to awful my colleagues. i respect -- to all of my colleagues. i recall your position on this deal however you voted. i'm not here to name-call or chastise anyone who reaches a different pong position on thisl
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than i do, because it is a hard matter. i don't think we serve the body well by challenging folks who reach a different position. the allegation has been made on the floor in recent days that this vote, including the vote that was just taken, was somehow a procedural blocking of a vote on the deal much that's just not the case. i was one of the coauthors of the review act that is currently before us. and as we worked on the act in the foreign relations committee, everyone understood that it would take 60 votes to pass either a motion of approval or disapproval. we worked on the act in january or february, months before a framework was on the table. democrats wanted a 60-vote threshold for a motion of disapproval, but republicans wanted a 60-votvote threshold fa motion of disapproval. that was the understanding of everyone in the committee with we cast a -- when we cast a 19-0 vote to pass this in early april and it was clearly understood when we passed a 98-1 vote on
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the floor of the body. the 60-vote threshold was so clearly understood that that's the way we do things that 47 members of the senate naught in the letter -- put that in the letter to the leaders of in. so this is not an unusual thing to ask for a 60-vote threshold. the democra -- the democrats asked twice in the last three days let's have an up-or-down vote on the motion of disapproval on the 60-vote threshold and our request on the merits has been twice blocked by the majority. i hope we'll have a chance to vote on the merits again next week under the 60-vote threshold that we all agreed to. but regardless of whether we do or whether we don't, this is a completely transparent vote because all 100 members of the senate have indicated what their position is. i respect everybody's position, but it's very clear, and the clear rule is under the review act that we just passed by this vote, this deal will now go forward as we agreed it would a
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few months back. partisanship. the majority leader suggested that the position that's being taken on this side of the aisle is just to protect the president. i find that insulting. that's basically saying that on this side of the aisle, my colleagues didn't do the work to dig into the deal. so let me just say a word about my colleagues. my colleagues in the minority in this body. this deal was announced on the 15th of july. did anyone on this side of the aisle run out and take a position on the deal within hours after it was out? did anyone on this side of the aisle say, yes, i know what i'm going to do, and i haven't even read the bill? has this side of the aisle in lock step all taken exactly the same position with respect to this bill? no. on this side of the aisle, we haven't approached it in a partisan way. on this side of the aisle, every
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member took the time to master the details and make their own decision. some announced their decision a few days after the deal was announced. some announced their decision seven weeks after the deal was announced. on this side of the aisle, there is a difference of opinion. 42 of us support the deal. four of us do not support the deal. but we respect each other's opinions, and we've approached it as a matter of conscience. so i categorically reject the statement and the implication by the majority leader that this is just something over here that's being done casually to protect the president. and i would ask my colleagues in the majority, compare the diversity of opinion and the time it took to reach an opinion and the respect that we have for each other's opinion, compare that on this side of the aisle with your own track record on this bill, with the speed with which people announced that they were opposing it. some even admitting they were opposing it before they read it. and contrary to the claim of the
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majority leader that there's, there's no support, no bipartisan support for this, this deal, i have got to say senator john warner, republican, 36-year member of the senate, chair of the senate armed services committee, wrote with senator carl levin, former chair of the senate armed services committee, why we should support the iran deal. brent casino craft, national security add advisor for two republican presidents and general strongly supports this deal. general colin powell, republican secretary of state, strongly supports this deal. there is bipartisan support for this deal. it's just that in this body, the minority has been willing to have differences of opinion and respect those differences and not approach this in a partisan matter. that's not exactly the case with respect to the other side. i applawpped my colleagues for -- i applaud my colleagues for treating this as a matter of
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conscience, for reaching the conclusions they reached, even differences of opinion, and respecting each other's views. under the terms of the review act as we agreed to it, we have now taken a vote. and unless the majority will allow us to have a vote on the merits pursuant to the 60-vote threshold, this vote will stand and the deal will go forward. i hope we can vote on the merits. i hope the majority will let us do what we agreed to do when we passed the act a few months ago. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president, i was not planning to speak. i nope that senator capito is next in line -- i know that senator capito is next in line. but i am really disappointed in my friend from virginia indicating that somehow people on this side of the aisle did not study this deal, did not spend time understanding the details and somehow people on
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this side of the aisle in a knee-jerk way made their decision. that's an insult, not something that i would expect, not something that i would expect to come from my friend on the other side of the aisle. i have enjoyed so much working with him, and i will continue to. i respect him greatly. but, look, i don't want to start tit for tatting, but senator feinstein came out immediately in support of this. nancy pelosi came out immediately in support of this. and no doubt there were some people on this side of the aisle that did the same. i came out in opposition for this after -- after -- two democrats had come out in opposition. so i wish that those comments had not been made. we had 12 hearings in the foreign relations committee well attended by people on both sides
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of the aisle. and i just take offense that somehow because there's bipartisan opposition and only partisan support, that somehow those who support are more bipartisan. now, i don't know, that's a leap that i have not heard. i said hundreds of times that if this deal achieved what the president said it was going to a achieve, i'd be voting for it. if this dismantled iran's nuclear program, i'd be voting for it. if this didn't industrialize their program, i'd be voting for it. he said it would end their nuclear program. there would be 100 votes on the floor for that. this is a far cry from that. so i'm sorry to have this kind of conversation on the senate floor, but i'll have to say i've
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sat here listening to the speeches. i think people on both sides of the aisle have thought a great deal about this. i do think there has been extreme pressure. my friends on the other side of the aisle have told me they've never been addressed in such a personal manner by the administration. never. and so, yes, there has been pressure. i understand that, by the way. if the shoe were on the other foot, it would be taking place, i got that. but, look, i think the debate has been thoughtful. i think by and large, vast numbers -- the vast majority of people on both sides of the aisle have been thoughtful. and after the debate that we've had, i'm discouraged that my friend on the other side of the aisle would indicate that somehow, because there's bipartisan opposition, bipartisan opposition, the most informed members on the other side of the aisle, the ranking member of the foreign relations committee and the former ranking
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member and chairman of the foreign relations committee are voting against that. and because we happen to agree with the leading members on the democratic side, we're partisan? so, i'm sorry. now, back to the procedure, there's no question -- i've said this over and over, i understand regular order. this bill was drafted under regular order. i got it. i understand that certainly the procedures in this body are that cloture, just to end debate, and that takes 60 votes. i got it. it doesn't take but about a week here to understand the importance of cloture. so i've always known -- i've said this -- that a threshold to get us to a place for final passage was going to be 60 votes. but we also passed a bill with 98 votes. one senator was missing that supported it. it would have been 99-1, that
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said we wanted to vote. and so, look, i understand there can be debates about filibuster and all of that. but to say that there was some pre-agreement, i mean the text of the deal, the text of the iran nuclear review act says that we're going to go through regular order. we call -- caught a lot of grief over that. a lot of people wanted a privileged motion. i understand the leader on that side didn't like privileged vehicles because he felt he lost control of the floor. we discussed that thoroughly last january. look, i understand how cloture is used. i understand how cloture is used. i got it. i understand it takes 60 votes people in here saying, yes, we greap that we should -- we agree that we should end debate. and, yes, we want to move on. and i know that hasn't happened today. and i understand a lot of time that cloture is used as the vote
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, as you just indicated you believe that it does. i just want to say again there's been no -- there's been no agreement. we understand the threshold