Activists gather at a Capitol Hill rally against the Iran nuclear deal in Washington September 9, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – A resolution to approve the Iran nuclear deal failed in the US House of Representatives on Friday.
The measure, orchestrated by the House GOP caucus, was certain to fail given the Republican majority in the lower chamber. But the vote was intended to put all members of the House on record in favor or against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and is part of a larger GOP strategy to attack the agreement on political and legal grounds.
The vote, with 162 members voting for the agreement and 269 voting against, was the only vote thus far cast directly on the merits of the accord.
On Thursday, the Senate held a procedural vote on a proposal to end debate on a resolution of disapproval and move on to a final vote: the Democrats rejected the proposal.
That Senate vote will likely be determinative, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said on Friday morning.
US President Barack Obama, he said, “is going to win the short-term battle” in Congress. “But we’ve won the argument with the American people.”
The House voted on Thursday afternoon to accuse the president of failing to submit the JCPOA in its entirety – a legal requirement in order to begin a 60-day clock for congressional review of the accord.
They now say that clock has not started, that their review will continue and that the deal cannot yet be implemented by the United States.
They cite the president’s inability to submit agreements between Iran and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with policing the larger agreement. Those “side deals” are a part of the larger JCPOA, House members say.
But the administration says it is not privy to the confidential documents, agreed upon by a UN body and a participating member state.
After rejecting the resolution of approval, the House then voted on a measure calling on the president to halt implementation of the accord, including providing sanctions relief through executive order. The vote fell on party lines, with Democrats united against the bill.
White House officials tell The Jerusalem Post
that, regardless of House attempts to thwart the administration, it plans to implement the JCPOA as scheduled. In their view, they have submitted all the documents as required, on time, and Congress’s review period expires on September 17.