Senate Democrats voted to uphold the hard-fought nuclear accord with Iran today, overcoming ferocious GOP opposition and delivering President Obama a legacy-making victory on his top foreign policy priority. A disapproval resolution for the agreement fell two votes short of the 60 needed to move forward as most Democratic and independent senators banded together against it. Obama promised to veto it anyway, and he appeared to have the votes necessary to block an override. Although House Republicans continued to pursue eleventh-hour strategies to derail the international accord and Senate Republicans promised a re-vote, today's outcome all but guaranteed that the disapproval legislation would not reach Obama's desk. As a result, the nuclear deal will move forward unchecked by Congress.
Beginning next week, Obama will be free to start scaling back US sanctions to implement the agreement negotiated by Iran, the US and five other world powers. The accord aims to constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. Republicans railed against Democrats for using a procedural vote to block final passage of the disapproval resolution, and issued grim warnings about a deal they contend could serve only to enrich Tehran and leave it closer to building a bomb when constraints begin to ease in 10 or 15 years. They promised that today's vote would not be the Senate's last word, and moments after it was over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the stage for another next week. Harry Reid said that, too, would be futile, reports the Hill. (Read more Iran stories.)