The time it took for Speaker John A. Boehner to surmise that he wasn't going to like the Iranian nuclear deal may best be measured in seconds. But absent a revolt from Democrats, there doesn't seem to be much the Ohio Republican and the rest of the GOP can do.
Just hours after the Obama administration announced that a deal had been struck, Boehner trashed the agreement Tuesday during a GOP leadership news conference. The speaker said, in his view, "from what I know of it thus far," the deal was "unacceptable" and would pave the way for a nuclear Iran. "At the outset of the Iran negotiations, the Obama administration said that a good deal would affirm that Iran does not have the right to enrich," Boehner said, adding that the administration also said it'd be a good idea to keep sanctions in place until Iran had "concrete, verifiable" standards. "And they believed that they had to stop Iran's drive for a nuclear bomb," he said.
"Listen," Boehner continued, "the president has abandoned all those goals."
Boehner 'Highly Skeptical' of Iran Deal
Boehner said President Barack Obama had called him last night to tell him a deal was going to be announced shortly. Boehner said he told the president that he was "skeptical."
Not much has changed in the hours since more details have been released about the agreement.
When a reporter asked how Boehner could be so quick to dismiss the deal — particularly when the Iran Nuclear Review Act implies that Congress will actually review the deal — Boehner clarified that, yes, he was operating on an incomplete understanding, but, no, it doesn't sound as if he'll support the agreement.
"Based on what I know now, it doesn't look like a very good deal," he said. "I want to review all the facts. But based on what I know, I'm highly skeptical. At best."
Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress has 60 days to review the deal once it's formally submitted. "We haven't made any decisions in terms of how we'll proceed or when we'll proceed," Boehner said, "but I think it's pretty clear — it should be clear — that we do intend to act." Congress could pass a joint resolution of disapproval for the agreement, but Obama would almost certainly veto such legislation. And finding only one-third of the House or Senate to block a veto override shouldn't be that difficult for Obama, as long as the current climate in Congress doesn't change and Democrats don't face a sudden constituent uprising during the August recess.
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