Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) provided air support for a revolt underway in the House today, as he called on Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop the Iran deal by refusing to hold a vote on the agreement.
Cruz’s mention of GOP leadership drew boos at Wednesday’s rally against the Iran deal on Capitol Hill, which he helped organize. “Hold on: I come not to bury Caesar but to praise him,” Cruz said, quoting from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. “I want to give a path forward. There are two men in Washington, D.C., who can defeat this deal. Their names are Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner.”
Cruz noted that Obama has not provided Congress with side agreements negotiated between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as required by the legislation that established a process for Congress to review the larger deal. “What that means is that all that has to happen is for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to say, ‘The congressional review period has not started. Under federal law it is illegal for Obama to lift sanctions,’” he said. “Mitch McConnell and John Boehner can stop this deal if they simply enforce . . . federal law.”
Cruz conjured the dire image of Iran destroying the electrical grid of America’s eastern coast with an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon, warning that such a scenario could play out if the deal takes effect. “If Senate Democrats decide that party loyalty matters more than national security, and if Republican leadership decides that a show vote is more important than stopping this deal, then the single most important issue in 2016 will be stopping Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The conservative presidential hopeful reserved his most pungent denunciations for Democrats who have pledged to back the deal even though it lifts sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. “If you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them,” he said. “You cannot wash your hands of that blood.”