‘Do-Nothing Senate’ Did Something: Agreed Containing Iran Is a Bad Idea

Cooling towers at a nuclear power plant northeast of downtown Tehran. (Photo by Abrahm Lustgarten, Getty Images)

Intercepts’ man on Capitol Hill heard — before Congress left town for six weeks, that is — multiple House members of both parties refer to the upper chamber as the “do-nothing Senate.”

In true partisan fashion, the House Republicans blamed the Senate’s Democratic leadership for its, well, recent struggle to act on crucial legislation. House Democrats blamed a Senate Republican membership they see as “the party of no,” as several put it, which often uses complicated Senate rules to tie up debate on bills.

Yet, behind the smoke of Washington’s recent partisan nastiness, the Senate managed to pass a measure before adjourning late last month that should make all its members look good back home.

The little-noticed Senate Resolution 41 was approved on Sept. 22 by a wide margin (90 yays to 1 nay, with the remainder not voting). If also approved by the House when it returns in November, the resolution would make it the official “sense of Congress” that lawmakers reject “any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.”

And just in case a clever White House counsel even thinks about using a mere sense of lawmakers resolution as a legal justification for combat operations against Iran without congressional approval, the resolution contains a passage stating it should not be regarded as “an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.”

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett