Lieberman Warns Congress of 'Bad Deal': 'I Cannot Think of a More Consequential Vote You Will Take'

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this morning to warn members of Congress that the vote they face on the Iran nuclear deal will be the biggest vote of their lifetime.

"I cannot think of a more consequential vote that you will take" on the security of the United States and the world, the former chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said.

Lieberman, now co-chairman of the Iran Task Force at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, did review the deal before appearing at the morning hearing.

"This is a bad deal for America, a bad deal for Iran's neighbors in the Middle East, and a bad deal for the world," he confirmed. "...This is a bet based on hope over experience that we've had with Iran."

Lieberman said the inspections regime is "dangerously short of the anywhere, anytime access that is needed."

He said the process of requesting an inspection and sending it to the arbitration panel, which includes Iran, can go on for at least two weeks of negotiation, then is subject to an appeal process to a higher board. Essentially, the IAEA "will have to negotiate to gain access for its inspectors."

Lieberman said he's concluded the agreement "falls far short of what's needed."

The former vice presidential candidate noted that some will try to convince members of Congress that rejecting the deal would be "catastrophic," and those people will "intimidate" and "demonize" lawmakers to get approval as members are "pushed and pulled."

"Those are false arguments and I urge you to reject them," he said. "...Rejecting this bad deal will not result in war; it will give the administration a new opportunity to pursue a better deal."

Lieberman said each member of Congress will have to "decide in the privacy of your own conscience what you believe is best for the security of the American people"

He warned them again that it will be the most consequential vote of their careers.

"This is a decision that will reverberate in the lives of our children, grandchildren and beyond."

A senior administration official said on background this morning that Congress needs to approve the deal because "there is not a scenario anybody could see where the rest of the world would sign up for additional sanctions."

"The world signed up for sanctions to get a deal," the official said, adding that a vote to reject the deal would be "a vote to kill the sanctions regime."