White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest rebuked Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) Wednesday for proposing an amendment that would prevent the Obama administration from purchasing Iranian nuclear materials using taxpayer dollars.
"Sen. Cotton is certainty no expert when it comes to heavy water. I’m confident that he couldn’t differentiate heavy water from sparkling water," Earnest said.
Earnest said that Cotton's amendment demonstrates his commitment to "undermining" the Iran deal.
"His focus is on undermining the effective implementation of this agreement that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Earnest said.
The Obama administration announced Friday that it would purchase $8.6 million worth of heavy water, a material used in making nuclear weapons, from Iran, but has declined to say how the purchase will be funded. A Free Beacon report revealed Wednesday that the exchange would likely be funded by taxpayer dollars.
Cotton proposed an amendment Tuesday to assure that taxpayer-funded purchases of heavy water do not occur in the future.
"[Purchasing heavy water from Iran] stimulates Iran’s nuclear industry, opens the door to the use of U.S. dollars to facilitate Iranian trade and illicit financing, and provides U.S. tax dollars to the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism," Cotton told the Free Beacon.
The administration's purchase was a bid to assure that Iran complies with its commitments to reduce nuclear material under the Iran Deal. However, experts have said that Iran could be producing excess heavy water in order to wrack up money that would fund plutonium bombs.
Cotton later conceded that Earnest knew more about sparkling water than he did, since the Army doesn't serve the fizzy drink. Cotton has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
As for you @PressSec , you’re right, I don’t know much about sparkling water. It isn’t served in Army, unlike in your ritzy West Wing.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 27, 2016