GOP Congress moves to disapprove Iran deal
© Greg Nash

Congress will vote in September on a measure disapproving the Iran nuclear deal, GOP leaders announced Tuesday.

The formal resolution of disapproval unveiled on Tuesday is authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE (R-Ky.) also indicated that the upper chamber would vote on a resolution of disapproval.

"It is clear that this is a bad deal, and the House will vote on disapproval in September," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement.

McCarthy's announcement isn't a surprise. Under the congressional review measure signed into law earlier this year, Congress had 60 days to review the terms of the deal before voting on either a measure to approve or disapprove of the deal.

Given broad GOP opposition to the agreement, it was soon clear a measure of disapproval would be likely to pass the House.

The vote in the Senate could be tougher, as no Senate Democrats have formally come out against the deal so far. Because the vote on a measure of disapproval can be filibustered, the Senate will need 60 votes to proceed.

McConnell said Tuesday that he wants the Senate to halt all other business, including committee hearings, while the chamber debates the Iran deal in September. He plans to request that all senators remain seated at their desks in the chamber during the debate — which is typically only reserved for the most consequential votes.

"I think it ought to be treated in the Senate as a different matter, and so I’ll be trying to get consent to have a debate in which we have time set up for each senator to speak. I’ll be asking for each senator to remain at their desk during the debate, actually listen to each other during the course of the debate, leading to the final vote," McConnell said.

Under the 60-day review period, Congress will need to hold votes on the measure of disapproval by mid-September.

President Obama can also veto the measure. To overcome that hurdle, opponents would need to win two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate to override him.

The White House's lobbying push on the deal has been focused on Democrats, who the administration is determined to keep in line.

The announcement of the vote in the House comes a day after Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), who co-chairs the House Republican Israel Caucus, said a majority of the House had signed on to his measure condemning the Iran deal.

The Roskam measure was meant to build support for the formal resolution of disapproval. All of the Roskam bill's co-sponsors are Republicans.

Ninety-four Republicans, including McCarthy, signed a letter to President Obama on Tuesday demanding that the administration release the text of "side deals" between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

The White House has called the "arrangements" with the IAEA standard and confidential. But Republicans, and some Democrats, say they should have access to the documents as Congress reviews the overall agreement with Iran.

- Alexander Bolton and Kristina Wong contributed.