The United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that will allow Congress to review, and perhaps reject, a nuclear agreement with Iran. The bill passed 400-25, similar in its popularity to the Senate’s 98-1 tally.
Initially the White House resisted efforts to give Congress a role in weighing in on an agreement. But once it became apparent that both Republicans and Democrats had a veto-proof majority, the White House said it would support a compromise crafted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee and the top Democrat on the panel, Sen Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.
During the House debate on the bill Republicans emphasized that they were deeply skeptical that the Administration could reach a significant deal with Iran, a country they said repeatedly engaged in state sponsored terrorism.
“I fear that the agreement that is coming will be too short, sanctions relief will be too rapid, inspectors will be too restricted, and Iran’s missile program will be plain ignored,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said on the House floor.
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, was equally skeptical in his remarks on the House floor, saying, “I agree with Secretary Kerry when he says that no deal is better than a bad deal. The question is, we want to make sure a bad deal isn’t sold as a good deal. And that’s why it’s important for Congress to be engaged.”
The bill, called the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, prevents the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran for 30 days after the signing of a deal in order to give Congress time to assess and vote on whether to reject the agreement.
The House also voted 423-0 to tighten sanctions against the Iran-sponsored terror group Hezbollah.
[Photo: Mike Maguire / Flickr ]