Royce, Boehner Set Stage for House Disapproval of Iran Deal

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted August 4, 2015 at 4:01pm

The gears have been set in motion for the House to disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal when the chamber returns from recess in September.  

On Tuesday afternoon, Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., announced the introduction of a resolution to reject the agreement, despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to veto any legislation that undermines the negotiated framework. “If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, a boost to its international standing, and a lighted path toward nuclear weapons,” Royce said in a written statement.  

“Yes, passage of this legislation would roil some diplomatic waters,” he went on. “But the U.S. still wields the most powerful economic sanctions in the world — sanctions Iran desperately needs relief from —sanctions that would continue to deter countries and companies from investing in Iran.  

Royce added he “[did] not relish” introducing the disapproval resolution, perhaps a nod to those Democratic lawmakers who support the nuclear deal and argue the overwhelming GOP opposition is politically motivated.  

On the heels of Royce’s announcement, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, released his own statement. He stopped short of endorsing the measure, but signaled it would receive a vote in the event members were united in their opposition.  

“If members determine this deal does not make our country safer,” Boehner said, “they will have an opportunity to vote for this resolution when we return in September.”  

Boehner didn’t specify whether he was talking about Republicans or Democrats, but he has personally made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the nuclear deal and with Obama’s foreign policy agenda in general.  

It is looking increasingly likely Republicans in the House will reject the agreement via Royce’s resolution, given the lawmaker’s status as the chairman of the committee or jurisdiction. A similar disapproval resolution has been floated by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill, who announced on Monday he had secured 218 co-sponsors — the magic number for passage.  

Assuming co-sponsors of Roskam’s bill also support Royce’s, and the GOP-controlled Senate also passes a disapproval resolution, Democrats will become key to sustaining the president’s veto.  

In May, 150 House Democrats signed a letter supporting Obama’s framework for a nuclear deal with Iran — enough to sustain a veto — and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while not formally whipping, is urging members to do their homework and vote in support of the agreement.