The news came in a flurry, Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he would vote against the P5+1 deal giving the deal’s opponents some hope, then like tic-tac-toe—three yeses in a row, presumably giving president Obama the 41 senate votes he needs to block a vote of disapproval. So while a majority of the Senate does not support the deal (at least 57 votes) thanks to a probable filibuster none of those Democrats who support this deal which puts American and Israeli children in danger will have to go on record.
But it’s not clear if those 41 Democrats will stick together on a filibuster of the disapproval legislation later this week. And Republicans in both chambers are discussing the possibility of voting on Friday, Sept. 11, to put maximum political pressure on Democrats, according to senior GOP sources.
In a downtown speech on Tuesday morning, Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat, confidently declared that Obama’s “agreement will stand,” but was more coy about whether he can hold his caucus together and block a resolution of disapproval from even reaching the president’s desk and avoid a veto that many Democrats argue will hurt the United States’ international standing.
“I don’t have gut feelings. We’ll have to wait and see how others will vote,” Reid said as he left the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he made a lengthy defense of the international deal that would lift some sanctions on Iran while scaling back their nuclear ambitions.
Minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has made an offer to Majority Leader McConnell; if the GOP raises the number of votes necessary to pass the disapproval bill to 60 there will be no filibuster.
Almost every Senator who announced their support of the deal started off by saying they had problems with it but they succumbed to pressure from the president anyway.
There is one possible option, the one outlined by Andrew McCarthy the other day. The bill Congress passed and Obama signed the administration has obligations to Congress that they haven’t met. That is they are required to turn over every agreement including the side deals within five days of an agreement:
Including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.
Those side deals are still being kept from Congress despite the Corker-Cardin bill, parts of those deals may change the minds of some of the senators who reluctantly supported the bill. The one side deal we know about allows Iran to “self-inspect” the Parchin military base where Iran has been working on nuclear triggers.
I have contacted people in the GOP Senate Leadership and the Speaker of the House asking if they plan to pursue something in the vein of what Andrew McCarthy suggested.
A Senate Republican leadership source responded:
“The Leader has made it [turning over the side deals] an issue. He made a speech on it. But the bottom line is we already oppose the President’s deal with Iran; we don’t believe that the secret side deals will change our mind. If Democrats are comfortable supporting the deal without seeing the side deals, that’s a decision they’ll have to make. But we oppose and will vote against the President’s deal with Iran.” (Link to McConnell’s speech was added to the statement by me).
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) is going to pursue this approach:
Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, raised a question of the privileges of the House of Representatives demanding access to two side agreements negotiated between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA). Pursuant to this law, the measure directs the House Parliamentarian to not recognize the 60-day congressional review period until the side agreements are transmitted to Congress. It also prohibits the President from lifting statutory sanctions against Iran until Congress has the opportunity to both fully review the JCPOA and related documents, including side agreements, and to vote on a disapproval resolution.
“In May, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed and President Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the Administration transmit to Congress all documents related to the JCPOA —including side agreements—prior to a 60-day review period and subsequent vote. A day after the nuclear accord was announced, reports surfaced that Iran and the IAEA struck two side agreements related to Tehran’s past nuclear work. In clear violation of federal law, repeated requests from leading Democrats and Republicans to review the side agreements were rebuffed by the Obama Administration. Congressional briefings provided by Administration officials are a legally insufficient substitute for providing the actual text of these documents. Therefore, I raise a question of the privileges of the House insisting that, until the Administration complies with the law, Congress should not vote. All Members of Congress, regardless of their position on the nuclear deal, should demand the robust and transparent review process necessary to cast a fully informed vote.”
I contacted the Speaker’s office again and asked if they will allow Roskam’s motion to reach the floor.