National Security

Lone House Republican votes ‘present’ on Iran nuclear deal

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Every single House Republican on Friday voted against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran — with one exception.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole lawmaker to vote neither “yes” nor “no” on a resolution approving the nuclear deal.

Instead, he voted “present.”

{mosads}The unusual move from one of the House’s most libertarian lawmakers surprised congressional watchers, who had largely assumed Republicans would vote in a united bloc.

But Massie claimed that the vote was all part of a broader strategy of rejecting the Obama administration’s claim that the nuclear pact is not an official international treaty — which would make it subject to approval from two-thirds of the Senate, according to the Constitution.

“Pursuant to the Constitution, treaties must be approved by a ‘2/3 concurrence’ of the Senate,” Massie said in a statement after the Friday vote. “As a member of the House of Representatives, I have no authority to approve a treaty.”

Even assuming the legitimacy of the full congressional review, Massie said, Friday’s vote was merely “a ‘show-boat’ vote at best,” since it will never move beyond the lower chamber. 

Massie’s stance is not uncharacteristic, given his tendency for unconventional positions in his party.

Earlier this year, Massie was a prime supporter of Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) effort to temporarily kill off portions of the Patriot Act, despite the wishes of House GOP leadership. 

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