Sep 17 2015
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today submitted a statement in the congressional record expressing her dismay over the Iran-related votes that took place earlier today on the Senate floor.
“The vote today was nothing more than an attempt to extract a political price for our previous vote in support of the nuclear agreement,” Feinstein said. “Playing politics with one of the most important national security votes of our time does nothing to actually support Israel, nor does it do anything to free the prisoners.”
Feinstein concluded: “If my counterparts truly wanted to enhance Israel’s security and free the Americans, they would stop trying to undermine the nuclear agreement with Iran—which I believe is our best opportunity to begin to turn a new page with Iran.”
The full text of Feinstein’s statement is below:
“Mr. President, I rise today to express my dismay over the votes that took place earlier today on the Senate floor.
The Resolution of Disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement has now been voted on three times in the Senate, and it has failed to advance three times.
Likewise, the House has failed in its own efforts to move a Resolution of Disapproval. The fact of the matter is that the nuclear agreement with Iran is a done deal and the president now has every right to move ahead with its implementation. Period.
Yet, we were on the Senate floor this morning, voting on a highly charged Iran amendment that the Majority Leader introduced. Unfortunately, the amendment was yet another political attempt to undermine the agreement
This amendment would prevent the president from providing sanctions relief to Iran—thereby scuttling the entire agreement—unless Iran does two things: Recognize the State of Israel and release four Americans wrongfully imprisoned in Iran.
I voted no on cloture on this amendment, and I want to take a moment to explain why.
To be clear: my vote does not mean that I endorse Iran’s position on Israel nor does it mean that I don’t care about the American prisoners in Iran.
Just because I support this diplomatic agreement does not mean I support Iran’s reprehensible policies.
In fact, I want nothing more than for Iran to recognize Israel as a sovereign state. I’ve always stood by Israel, and its security and future well-being are foremost in my mind.
For those of us who are personally connected to Israel and care for her deeply, this vote is nothing more than an attempt to embarrass us and score political points.
It should be obvious to the American people that, of course, we all stand with Israel—Democrats and Republicans:
- Since 2008, we’ve provided more than $25 billion to support Israel’s defense.
- At $3.1 billion per year, Israel is the largest annual recipient of U.S. military assistance, which can be used to purchase U.S. defense equipment and services.
- We’ve also provided $3 billion specifically for missile defense systems, such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow.
- In FY15 alone the Congress provided $351 million for Iron Dome—twice the president’s budget request.
We all want Iran to recognize Israel and stop threatening its existence. We all want Iran’s support for terrorist proxies on Israel’s doorstep to cease. We all are disturbed by the Ayatollah’s calls for Israel’s destruction.
But the way to truly have Israel’s back is not through this amendment.
On the prisoners currently held in Iran, it must be said and reiterated: no American, let alone any member of Congress, wants any of our citizens wrongfully imprisoned in Iran.
These detainees deserve to be brought home, safe and sound, to their loved ones.
But, again, a partisan amendment does not make that happen.
The vote today was nothing more than an attempt to extract a political price for our previous vote in support of the nuclear agreement.
Playing politics with one of the most important national security votes of our time does nothing to actually support Israel, nor does it do anything to free the prisoners.
If my counterparts truly wanted to enhance Israel’s security and free the Americans, they would stop trying to undermine the nuclear agreement with Iran—which I believe is our best opportunity to begin to turn a new page with Iran.
I stand ready and eager to work with my Republican counterparts to achieve our shared goals of supporting Israel and getting our prisoners out of Iran. But we have a far better chance of achieving that through bipartisan cooperation, and working together to make sure the nuclear agreement is fully implemented.
It’s time to move past the repeated attempts to overturn the nuclear agreement.
It’s extremely unfortunate we had to take the vote today, especially given all the other pressing matters before the Senate.
Thank you, I yield the floor.”