GOP rep tries to halt Iran vote over ‘side deals’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamEx-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Blue states angry over SALT cap should give fiscal sobriety a try Illinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap MORE (R-Ill.) is trying to slow down the imminent House vote this week on the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran over so-called “side deals” that haven’t been publicly released.

Roskam, a former member of the GOP leadership team who serves as co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, wants to force a floor vote this week that would cancel the House vote on the deal unless the White House releases the text of the “side deals” regarding nuclear inspections between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Roskam formally offered a “privileged” resolution on the House floor Tuesday afternoon that would force Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to return the text of the Iran nuclear agreement and related materials the Obama administration submitted to Congress so that they can be re-sent with the IAEA accords. The House parliamentarian would also be instructed not to recognize any documents submitted by the White House in July for purposes of establishing the deadline for Congress to vote on the Iran accord.

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Roskam’s decision to designate the resolution as “privileged” forces the House to act on it within two days, meaning a floor vote could come by Thursday. Such resolutions apply when a lawmaker argues the rights, dignity or integrity of the House collectively have been violated.

“[T]he president’s failure to follow a law that he signed is an affront to the dignity of the House and cannot be ignored,” Roskam’s resolution states.

“[T]he taking of legislative action without reasonable consideration and knowledge damages the reputation and credibility of the House collectively and its members individually in their representative capacities,” it adds.

But it’s unclear how Roskam’s resolution will go forward. GOP leaders could decide to rule that the measure doesn’t qualify as “privileged” — which could prompt an appeal from Roskam — or simply motion to kill the resolution. 

Moreover, even if the resolution passes the House, it seems unlikely it could clear the Senate, given that 41 Democratic senators have announced their support for the nuclear deal. 

Under the Iran nuclear review law established earlier this year, Congress has 60 days to evaluate the international agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Congress faces a Sept. 17 deadline to vote on resolutions serving as referendums of the deal.

The House is expected to begin debate on a resolution disapproving of the Iran deal starting Wednesday, with a final vote possible Thursday or Friday.

Roskam’s resolution argues that withholding the details of the side agreements between Iran and international nuclear inspectors prevents lawmakers from making informed decisions about the overall deal.

“[B]eing briefed second- or third-hand, including by Obama administration officials who themselves have not read the actual text of the side agreements, is akin to a game of telephone and is not the same thing as allowing members of Congress to read the actual text of the agreements,” the resolution says.