Bipartisan 400-25 vote would allow Congress to review any nuclear deal reached with Iran
The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday giving Congress a say on any nuclear deal the U.S. reaches with Iran, paving the way for President Barack Obama to sign the bill into law.
Only six Democrats and 19 Republican dissented in the bipartisan 400-25 House vote. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill last week in a 98-1 vote.
Obama is widely expected to sign the legislation that allows Congress to approve or disapprove any final deal during a 30-day window in which economic sanctions cannot be waived.
Should Congress disapprove of the deal it would have to reject it in a new piece of legislation.
Obama is likely to veto any such bill, forcing lawmakers to assemble a two-thirds majority in each chamber to ensure the bill is veto-proof. Should they be able to do so, the administration would be barred from suspending economic sanctions under an accord – a key demand of Tehran.
But even if lawmakers do override a veto, Obama could still pursue executive actions that would lift a significant amount of Iran sanctions, potentially allowing the U.S. to live up to its commitments under a final deal.
House Speaker John Boehner lauded the bill, saying lawmakers must have a role in examining a prospective deal with Iran.
“The American people are worried – and America’s allies are worried – that the White House will do anything to get one. So my colleagues and I have one goal: stop a bad deal,” he said in a statement.
Negotiators from the P5+1 group of world powers, which includes the U.S., UK, France, China, and Russia plus Germany; along with Iran, reached a framework agreement on a nuclear accord last month. They have until the end of June to settle on a comprehensive accord.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce stressed that the bill’s passage has increased the likelihood of reaching a comprehensive accord.
“When Secretary [John] Kerry sits across from the Iranians, he’ll now have on his mind – ‘I’ve got to take this to Congress,” he said in a statement. “Instead of Iranian negotiators knowing that they can wear-down the administration, they now know that Congress has been added as an important back-stop.”
Negotiators have been seeking a deal that would lift economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program and unprecedented inspections.