WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is continuing to flex its muscles on the Iran nuclear deal even though the Senate has already sealed its fate in Congress.
Senate Democrats voted on Thursday to uphold the accord with Iran, overcoming heavy GOP opposition to hand President Barack Obama a victory on his top foreign policy priority.
A disapproval resolution for the agreement fell two votes short of the 60 needed to move forward as most Democratic and independent senators banded together against it.
House Republicans will continue on Friday to further eleventh-hour strategies to derail the agreement and Senate Republicans are promising a re-vote. But the Senate action all but guaranteed that any legislation disapproving of the deal will never reach Obama’s desk. The Friday debate comes on Sept. 11, anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks.
Undeterred, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said on the House floor that House Republicans are going to “use the judicial branch of the government” to prevent implementation of the deal, which gives Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for imposing restraints on its nuclear program.
“What part of `Death to America’ do you not understand?” Farenthold asked, referring to the oft-repeated refrain of Iranian hardliners. “The Iran deal is a bad deal and it needs to be stopped and we are fighting here in the House of Representatives to do that.”
On Thursday, the House adopted a resolution on a vote of 245-186 saying that Obama had not complied with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. Supporters of the resolution claim the act required the president to supply Congress with all documents relevant to the deal, but that the administration did not give lawmakers texts of two agreements that the U.N. nuclear inspection agency negotiated separately with Tehran.
The administration says it doesn’t have the bilateral agreements and the nuclear inspection agency says confidentiality provisions prevent it from releasing them.
“Congress cannot review an agreement without having access to everything including the fine print. We need to see all the secret side deals,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
On Friday, the House will consider whether to hold a vote to approve of the nuclear deal and whether to pass a resolution to suspend until January 2017 the president’s authority to waive or suspend sanctions on Iran.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., chided the House Republicans for what he said was a “convoluted process with three measures that won’t go anywhere in the Senate and will never reach the president’s desk.”
“The fact is the president has the votes to move this historic agreement forward,” he said.
Putting an exclamation point on their party’s success, House Democrats late Thursday announced there are now 146 members of the House who have publicly voiced their support of the deal – enough to uphold a presidential veto even if any GOP legislation against the deal could get through.
This article was written by Debr Riechmann for AP on Sep. 11, 2015.