Conservative Revolt Forces GOP to Delay Iran Vote, Alter Strategy
Republicans are united in their opposition to the president's nuclear accord with Iran, but are divided on the best way to throw a wrench in the works, if not stop it entirely.
The House was scheduled to vote on a procedural motion to begin debate on Wednesday, but the vote was delayed after conservatives said they wanted Obama to provide more information about the deal. It was recently discovered that the nuclear pact includes "secret side deals" about nuclear inspections.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) argued that the best way to express concerns about the deal was to vote to disapprove of it and "go forward in that manner.”
But by Tuesday, Democrats had mustered 42 votes in the Senate, more than enough to block a disapproval resolution.
Leading the Republican rebellion was Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who argued that since the Obama administration had not provided all the required information about the deal, the Iran Review Act had not been triggered.
"He hasn't complied with the law," Roskam told reporters as he left a closed-door Republican meeting. "So (the Iran review act) isn't triggered because he's not disclosed what's required under the law."
After conservatives revolted, House GOP leaders were forced to delay and change their strategy. Now, the House is expected to vote this week on a series of three measures designed to register their opposition to the nuclear deal and pave the way for a future lawsuit against the White House.
GOP leaders are grappling with opposition from conservatives who earlier Wednesday, September 9th delayed the start of debate on a resolution that would block the nuclear accord. Conservatives are calling on the White House to hand over more details about the nuclear agreement.
To get around the sudden obstacle, House leaders devised a plan intended to address conservative concerns by paving the way for a legal challenge over the implementation of the deal. The House will vote on a measure that says President Barack Obama violated the law by not turning over all the details of the historic agreement his administration reached with Iran.
The House would also vote on a resolution of approval on the nuclear deal — to put the House on record as having a majority that opposes it — and another measure that would prevent Obama from unilaterally lifting any sanctions on Iran passed by Congress.
But it’s the legal process that GOP leaders hope will bring conservatives on board and keep the House on track to finish voting on Iran by Friday.
Leadership believes it now has enough buy-in from rank-and-file members to start debate on Thursday and aim to finish voting by Friday.
A GOP aide said that this approach “lays the groundwork for a potential legal challenge and takes away legitimacy of President being able to say he used legal process to secure this deal.”
“I think that a lot of the dialogue we had today was talking up setting up a lawsuit,” Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon told reporters.
Salmon told reporters that the move to set out this new process comes as House Republicans recognize that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid likely has enough votes to prevent any debate on the GOP resolution to try to block the deal.
After presenting this new plan, House Speaker John Boehner received a couple of standing ovations from members, according to a Republican who attended the meeting.
“I don’t know anybody that said I won’t vote for this, ” Salmon said.