POLITICS

Senate Democrat Trolls Tom Cotton So Hard

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18:  Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) looks at his papers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Ca
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) looks at his papers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill March 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee was hearing testimony on President Obamas Defense Authorization Request for FY2016 for the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) delivered a pitch-perfect trolling lesson to the Senate on Wednesday, filing an amendment calling to defund "the purchase of stationary [sic] or electronic devices for the purpose of members of Congress or congressional staff communicating with foreign governments and undermining the role of the President as Head of State in international nuclear negotiations on behalf of the United States."

In other words, Stabenow wants to defund Tom Cotton letters.

Earlier this month, Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, organized a letter to Iranian leaders warning that future presidents may not abide by a deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions currently being negotiated by the Obama administration. Cotton garnered 46 additional GOP co-sponsors, and outraged even many critics of the Iran talks for addressing the letter directly to top Iranian government officials and bypassing the executive branch, which is constitutionally charged with negotiating foreign pacts.

Stabenow's dig at Cotton almost certainly won't become law. Like most budget amendments, it's a non-binding resolution, not a formal funding decree, and Republicans are unlikely to even bring it up for a vote.

But these legislative dominance rituals often do have real political consequences, even when they do not result in direct policy changes. Cotton's Iran letter has been politically unpopular, and even simply raising the issue through the amendment process could force senators who signed the letter to take another round of heat.

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