f-king bullies the lot of them. Why are we fighting their battles again? I hope this inspires more terrorists to fight America.
It's important to understand the context of this first.
This is not a treaty. It is an executive agreement made between the President, in conjunction with the P5+1 nations, and the leaders of Iran. Since it is not a treaty, Congress had no authority to review the deal or put it to any sort of vote.
To get past this, the Senate introduced, voted on, and passed S 615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The President signed it on May 22, 2015. This bill does the following:
Amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to direct the President, within five days after reaching an agreement with Iran regarding Iran's nuclear program, to transmit to Congress:
•the text of the agreement and all related materials and annexes;
•a related verification assessment report of the Secretary of State;
•a certification that the agreement includes the appropriate terms, conditions, and duration of the agreement's requirements concerning Iran's nuclear activities, and provisions describing any sanctions to be waived, suspended, or otherwise reduced by the United States and any other nation or entity, including the United Nations; and
•a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives, does not jeopardize the common defense and security, provides a framework to ensure that Iran's nuclear activities will not constitute an unreasonable defense and security risk, and ensures that Iran's permitted nuclear activities will not be used to further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose, including any related research.
It set several deadlines to be met by the negotiators:
The foreign relations committees shall hold hearings and briefings to review an agreement during the 30-day period following the President's transmittal of such agreement.
The congressional review period shall be 60 days for an agreement, including all materials required to be transmitted to Congress, that is transmitted between July 10, 2015, and September 7, 2015.
Since the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 was not submitted to Congress until after July 10th, the review period was extended to 60 days instead of the originally allotted 30.
The bill included one last very significant provision:
The President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran or refrain from applying sanctions pursuant to an agreement prior to and during the transmission period and during the congressional review period.
Meaning that the President cannot lift any sanctions on Iran during the review period.
Ok, so now we have a deal and we're in the review period. What now?
Congress will take a vote once the 60 day period is up. That vote will express a sense of the Congress, but will not be an up-or-down vote on the approval of the deal. The President can (and will) veto a disapproval from Congress, and still go on to carry out every aspect of this deal. HOWEVER, the Congress can (and very well may) override that veto and prevent the President from lifting the sanctions placed on Iran by the Congress.
There is absolutely nothing to stop Kerry from going back and negotiating a new deal, except for the unwillingness of the Iranians to restart these negotiations. And the Congress would, in all likelihood, pass another bill ordering the same review process.
So there are a few possible outcomes:
1.Congress votes to provide a sense of the Congress that this deal is in the best interest of the United States. The President signs that, and then we start lifting sanctions and fulfilling the terms of the deal hammered out between the P5+1 and Iran.
2.Congress votes to provide a sense of the Congress that this deal is NOT in the best interest of the United States. The President vetoes, and the Senate is not able to override that veto. The President starts lifting sanctions and fulfilling the terms of the deal hammered out between the P5+1 and Iran.
3.Congress votes to provide a sense of the Congress that this deal is NOT in the best interest of the United States. The President vetoes, and then all 54 Republicans find 14 Democrats to vote with them and override the veto. The President is then forbidden from lifting sanctions, the US cannot fulfill their terms of the deal, and Iran does not get a break from us (the UN and EU sanctions are already being lifted, regardless of what Congress decides. Also, the Russians and Chinese are preparing to put Iran in their sphere of influence and back them 100% in economic/military cooperation).
4.Congress votes to provide a sense of the Congress that this deal is NOT in the best interest of the United States. The President vetoes, and then all 54 Republicans find 14 Democrats to vote with them and override the veto. The President and Secretary Kerry decide to try again with getting another deal from Iran, and this whole process starts over again.
My money is on number 3. This deal is pretty unpopular, and getting 14 Dems to side with the GOP on this one should be doable with all of the $$$ that AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups are flushing in.
However, #2 is also very likely. Perhaps Obama can convince 34-35 Democrats in the Senate to vote for the deal and vote against overriding his veto.