Iran Nuke Deal's Next Battle: Congress

Congress will have 60 days to review before making its move
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2015 8:08 AM CDT
What's Next for the Landmark Iran Nuke Deal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives for the final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, July 14, 2015.   (Joe Klamar/Pool Photo via AP)

The rigorous negotiation phase is over, but the landmark Iran nuclear deal now faces what the Wall Street Journal calls a "wall of resistance" in Congress. "It's going to be a very hard sell," Mitch McConnell said on Fox News Sunday, raising doubt that any deal could truly limit Iran’s nuclear weapon capability. Once the full text, plus any appendices, are submitted to Congress, lawmakers will have 60 days to review the deal before sanctions against Iran can be lifted. Congress will then have a few options: Lawmakers can choose not to vote on the deal, or they can put forth a resolution either approving or disapproving it. They'll have 12 days after the review period to pass a resolution through both chambers; a vote will likely come in September after summer recess. Should Congress disapprove the deal and President Obama veto that, lawmakers will have 10 days to override the veto.

However, most agree we’re unlikely to see a veto reversed, considering how many Democrats would need to abandon their president to get the 67 votes needed in the Senate; Republicans hold just 54 seats. Republicans aren’t giving up hope, and suggest centrist Democrats could be persuaded; many Democrats have yet to openly express their opinion on the deal. Should all else fail, if a Republican succeeds Obama, he or she could make the risky move of using executive authority to throw sanctions on Iran and leave the panels used to enforce the deal, Politico notes. He or she could also tout any Iranian violations or stubbornness over the long-term as reason to exit the deal. Israel would likely be on board: Benjamin Netanyahu called the Iran deal a "historic mistake for the world," per the New York Times. With the expected lifting of sanctions, "Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine," he says. (More Iran stories.)

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