I'm Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia.
For months, Congress carefully and thoughtfully examined the details of the president's agreement with Iran and its profound implications for our national security.
We have evaluated this deal through simple and straightforward standards:
Will this agreement eliminate Iran's path to a nuclear weapon?
Will it improve the security situation in the Middle East?
And, most importantly, will it make America safer?
The bipartisan majority of Congress and the American public have concluded it will not improve our safety, our security or our stability.
The partisan minority in Congress who support the deal acknowledge its shortcomings, and the litany of flaws raised throughout this debate should invoke serious concerns about our entering into this agreement with Iran.
The tens of billions of dollars that Iran will receive once the sanctions are lifted will only increase its ability to sponsor the Syrian regime, support Hezbollah and threaten our allies.
The president has said that sanctions will go back into effect if Iran violates this agreement, but let's be clear, reversing course will be next to impossible.
When I visited the Middle East this spring, I heard firsthand from world leaders and our troops on the ground about the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran.
Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism.
This is the same regime that is currently holding four Americans prisoner.
Its Supreme Leader said last week that he believes Israel will no longer exist within 25 years.
The regime has already signaled it will defy attempts by the U.S. and other nations who aim to enforce this agreement.
Iran's Supreme Leader has said that, "Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change."
Based on its past actions, Iran is not a credible player.
Sanctions adopted by Congress are what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.
Stronger sanctions could have forced Iran to accept a better agreement—an agreement that is in the best interests of America and the world.
Unfortunately, a partisan minority in the Senate blocked a bipartisan majority from even taking a true up or down vote on whether the nuclear agreement should be approved.
This is despite the fact that Congress overwhelming passed legislation giving the American people the right to review the president's agreement and provide Congress the ability to vote on it.
Many of the Democrats who supported legislation in May giving Congress the ability to vote on the agreement's merits changed their position and helped to deny an up or down vote.
After it became clear this week that 42 Democrats would band together to allow this flawed deal to move forward, Republicans took steps to link the agreement to Iran's poor track record.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered an amendment that would prevent the president from lifting nuclear sanctions in the agreement until Iran recognizes Israel's right to exist and releases the four American prisoners currently held in Iranian custody.
Before we provide Iran with tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, we should get a commitment that it will recognize one of our key allies and ensure the safe return of our citizens.
But Democrats also blocked a vote on this amendment, allowing President Obama to waive sanctions and move forward with this unpopular agreement.
With these negotiations, the president had an opportunity to use the leverage created by international sanctions to dismantle Iran's nuclear program.
He had an opportunity to show leadership and restore our standing in the world.
Yet, instead this is a deal that fails to meet even the administration's own objectives.
Because the president operated from a position of concession and not of strength, the American people are left with a bad deal.
I'm Senator Shelley Moore Capito and thank you for listening.
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B8TnO4XdoA.