Late yesterday, it was announced that a deal had been struck between Iran, the United States, and 5 other world powers to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the White House, the deal stipulates that Iran will commit to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent and also to neutralize its stockpile of near-20 percent enriched uranium. The Islamic Republic has also committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity. Iran will also halt work at its plutonium reactor and provide access to nuclear inspectors.
In exchange, the United States and its allies have agreed to offer Iran “modest relief” from economic sanctions and access to a portion of the revenue that the country has been denied through these sanctions. No new sanctions will be imposed, Obama said.
It’s a first step, and more will need to be done, but it’s a breakthrough after a very long time. Then the Republicans had to chime in.
In my previous post, I talked about how Republicans broke an “unwritten rule” when it came to the filibuster. While I’m not alone in saying “It’s about time!” I’m also aware of the various reasons behind the Senate’s unwillingness to change the filibuster rules. This is not, by any means, a “new discussion,” in that filibuster reform has been talked about for quite some time, with serious pushes being made by Senator Merkley over the past two sessions. So why do it now?
The news sites and the political blogs are all running with the surprise that Senator Reid called a vote and got the “Nuclear option” passed for Senate conformation votes on judicial (except Supreme Court) and executive department appointees. What is the “nuclear option?” It’s simply a rules change, which turns the need for a 60 vote majority to break a filibuster into a simple majority vote.
The vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees. Now, just a simple majority will be required for executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks.
It’s not like this is a big surprise, Senator Reid said he would do it if Republicans failed to legislate in good faith in the Senate.
If you read or watch the news media, particularly the political press, you’ll see a lot of stories – even polling – about the 2016 Presidential race. You can’t visit any of them without seeing some story, column, or commentary handicapping the current contenders, and their prospects for getting through the primaries. It’s even a subject for many blog postings on various sites, as to why Candidate X has any chance, or who is the overwhelming favorite. If I were running a fantasy league for politics, I’m sure I’d be fascinated. In reality? I don’t care! Neither should anyone else who is politically aware and active.
I’d like to start off this post with a little confession: I am often “out of the loop” when it comes to local and state politics. Ask me about something the town, county, or state is considering doing, or what’s going on in the local party, and I may give you a blank look. Embarrassing, I know, since I’m considered to be a fairly well-informed political blogger, but there it is. It’s not on purpose, it’s just a function of my job. When you spend 6 months of the year “out in the middle of nowhere,” it’s not conducive to keeping up with what’s going on. During the rest of the year I get back into it, and yes, I do pay attention. It’s just during that gap (which also accounts for my lack of blog posts) that I’m going to be relatively “clueless.” Having said that, there are times when I see something that makes me wonder “Just where have you been?”