Congress can vote to approve or disapprove of the agreement, or to take no action, but in the event of disapproval Congress would face a promised veto by President Obama, after which it would be required to secure a two-thirds majority in both houses in order to override the veto and block the agreement’s implementation.
To date, most analysis of the prospects for the next two month indicate that the Republican-controlled House and Senate will certainly vote its disapproval of the deal, but that they are unlikely to secure sufficient Democratic support for an override. But reports increasingly make it clear that the Republican Party and other opponents of the nuclear deal are not resigned to this outcome and will be fighting the Obama administration’s advocacy for the deal every step of the way.
This sentiment was expressed explicitly by Speaker of the House John Boehner on Wednesday. Arutz Sheva quoted the Ohio Republican representative as saying “because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people, we’re going to do everything possible to stop it.”
Members of Congress met with White House staff on Wednesday to discuss the deal in the midst of competing lobbying and campaigning for and against the deal. According to the USA Today, the latest estimates find that those opposing the deal have committed 10 to 20 times as much money to the cause as have its advocates. But this is said to reflect the comparative likelihood of the deal going through if all else is held equal.
Still, the 20 to 40 million dollar investment in the issue may help to level the playing field for the two outcomes, and may in fact secure Democratic votes that could help in overturning the veto threat. A detailed report by Real Clear Politics examines New York Senator Charles Schumer’s position in this debate, portraying him as a possible spoiler for the president’s expectation of party loyalty.
Both immediately following the completion of the deal and more recently, Schumer has declined to give any indication of his position on the agreement, saying only that he is committed to reading it thoroughly before making a determination. Yet Schumer has also publicly emphasized that he has defied President Obama’s will in the past over matters of conscience, and may do so again.
Real Clear Politics notes, however, that some opponents of the deal are dissatisfied with the prospect of Schumer merely voting his disapproval of it. They believe that if he were to actively campaign against the deal he could sway half a dozen or more fellow Democrats to join him in opposition.
Naturally, Republicans hope that their talking points and debate over the deal could do the same by portraying the Obama administration’s narratives as flawed or outright deceptive. As an example of the latter, The Blaze reports that Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Kansas Republican Representative Tom Pompeo have made much of the fact that there are apparently two “secret side deals” accompanying the Iran nuclear agreement.
The two non-public agreements are between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency and they concern the issue of inspecting the Parchin military site that has been linked to Iran’s nuclear program, as well as the mechanisms for possibly completing a probe into the possible military dimensions of that program.
A press release by the two congressmen alleges that the secrecy over these agreements, upon which the White House has been briefed, constitutes a violation of the assurances of transparency and public scrutiny imposed under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Meanwhile, other opponents of the deal are using it as a jumping off point for broader criticism of Obama administration foreign policy. This is especially true of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls. Mediaite reported on Wednesday that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who had actually developed a reputation as the Republican with perhaps the most permissive attitude toward negotiations with Iran, appeared on Fox News Radio to defend the importance of diplomacy but also emphasize that it must be backed up with a credible threat of military force.
The Obama administration was widely criticized in the midst of negotiations for effectively taking the threat off the table and giving away American leverage. In a statement released on Wednesday examining the prospects for the Iranian regime in the wake of the nuclear deal, the National Council of Resistance of Iran claimed that if the Obama administration had retained pressure on the regime it might have secured a deal involving the full abandonment of Iranian nuclear enrichment.