House Speaker: Congress Unable to Stop Nuclear Accord

House Speaker: Congress Unable to Stop Nuclear Accord
House Speaker: Congress Unable to Stop Nuclear Accord

The top ranking Republican in the US Congress privately acknowledged this weekend that his party does not have enough votes to overcome a veto of any resolution disapproving the nuclear deal President Barack Obama hopes to reach with Iran.

Speaking at an off-the-record event Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s meeting in Las Vegas, House Speaker John Boehner told the audience that he did not expect that more than two-thirds of Congress would vote to overturn a veto from Obama if Congress voted against a nuclear deal, according to four people who were inside the room for the private talk, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill, known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, unanimously two weeks ago. But that bipartisan vote masked a divergence within the Republican Party.

Proponents of the legislation say the bill gives Congress a chance to review an Iran agreement and could stop Obama from lifting sanctions during the review process.

Critics, however, want to strengthen the bill’s mechanisms and lower the threshold necessary for Congress to disapprove the deal. Their hope is to be able to ultimately stop Obama from at least lifting those sanctions created by Congress, as opposed to the ones created through executive order or the United Nations Security Council.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, confirmed that the speaker said he did not expect Congress to have the votes to overturn a veto of a resolution to disapprove the Iran deal.

“Obviously, it takes only a fraction of the House and Senate Democrats to sustain a veto,” Steel told Bloomberg. “But it is impossible to say whether they will or not until we know what the final deal looks like.”

One Republican elected official who attended the Republican Jewish Coalition’s weekend event said many attendees were disappointed in Boehner’s prediction. “It seems like Congress can’t do anything to stop Obama’s Iran deal,” the official said. Others who went to the Boehner event expressed a similar concern to Bloomberg as well.