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house Bill H. Joint Res. 64

Should Congress Reject the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

Argument in favor

Unfortunately, the way the agreement is structured will allow Iran not only to continue its enrichment of nuclear material and get sanctions relief, but also to acquire weapons which they might provide to terrorist groups. This is unacceptable, and the U.S. needs a deal with better terms.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
"I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won't be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation... who is making a horrible and laughable deal." [Trump's announcement speech]
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ScottWalker's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
"Today, Iran’s rulers see our sitting president as weak. @HillaryClinton would only weaken, not strengthen our position overseas. #RSG15" -twitter.com/ScottWalker
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JebBush's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
"Obama on CNN agrees Iran is ally against Taliban? Wrong. Insight into wishful thinking that led to bad Iran deal." -twitter.com/JebBush
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Argument opposed

It isn’t perfect — no deal is — but this agreement does give the world the best chance of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Regardless of what the U.S. does, Iran will get sanctions relief elsewhere, and backing out of the deal now could lead to war.

BernieSanders's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
“The test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner... This agreement is obviously not all that many of us would have liked, but it beats the alternative – a war with Iran that could go on for years.” [twitter.com/SenSanders]
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BarackObama's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
"The choice is ultimately between diplomacy and war. Iran's nuclear program accelerates if Congress kills this deal." [twitter.com/POTUS]
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ElizabethWarren's Opinion
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08/11/2015
"Diplomacy is our best hope of ending the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, far better than the alternative of escalating tensions and war." [twitter.com/senwarren]
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joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedAugust 4th, 2015

What is House Bill H. Joint Res. 64?

This joint resolution would express Congressional disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement that President Obama sent to Congress on July 19, 2015. The agreement imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program and calls for inspections at nuclear facilities while offering Iran relief from economic sanctions including the unfreezing of assets, and lifting an arms embargo.


Congress’ role in approving or denying this agreement was made into law by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which ensures that lawmakers would have a 60-day period to review the legislation before making a final decision. In order for their decision to take effect, Congress will have to vote on the issue prior to September 17, 2015, and two-thirds majorities will be required in both the House and Senate to override a threatened presidential veto if they are to stop the agreement.

Impact

American citizens who support or oppose the Iran nuclear agreement, businesses that could do business with Iran if sanctions are lifted, Congress, and the President.

Cost of House Bill H. Joint Res. 64

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and lead sponsor of this legislation, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), believes the deal should be rejected for a litany of reasons:

“Iran is not required to dismantle key bomb making technology, but is permitted a vast enrichment capacity, and will continue its research and development to gain an industrialized nuclear program in as little as ten years or so… Even Iran’s heavily fortified underground nuclear facility — which the United States had vowed to shut — stays open. Iran is still able to ‘mass produce’ its ballistic missiles, as the Supreme Leader has ordered. And the terrorist state of Iran will be flush with cash.”

Lawmakers who oppose the agreement saw bipartisan growth in their ranks after two key House Democrats — Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) — said that they would support a resolution blocking the deal. This trend continued when the probable future Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also came out against the agreement and explained his reasoning in a post on Medium:

“To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great… I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”

The White House has pushed Congress to resist efforts to torpedo the agreement; and President Obama said “the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war.” The President also compared Republicans opposing the agreement to the hardliners in Iran who also oppose the deal:

“It’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”

As one of the deal’s lead negotiators, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the agreement against accusations that inspection requirements were insufficient, saying “there’s no such thing in arms control as anytime, anywhere [inspections].” He also added that if Iran attempts to delay an inspection in order to hide illicit nuclear activity “there is no way for them to hide that material or do away with it in 24 days.”


Of Note: The agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the U.S., China, France, Russia, and Great Britain) plus Germany is quite expansive and encompasses over 150 pages. What follows is a relatively brief summary of the agreement’s major provisions:

  • Iran will be forced to remove two-thirds of its centrifuges used to enrich uranium, and can’t enrich beyond 3.67 percent purity (which is suitable for research) for 15 years;

  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium would be reduced by 98 percent to 660 pounds, a level which would stay in place for at least 15 years;

  • The breakout time — which is the time it takes to produce a nuclear weapon — would be extended from the current window of two-to-three months to one year;

  • Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would “round-the-clock” access to declared nuclear facilities at Fordow and Natanz;

  • For undeclared nuclear facilities, IAEA inspectors could negotiate for access within a 24 day period, and Iran does not comply then sanctions would ‘snapback’ into place;

  • No new sanctions could be imposed, and existing sanctions would be lifted after Iran complies with several requirements related to their nuclear program;

  • Sanctions on ballistic missile technology would remain in place for eight years, while sanctions on the conventional weapon sales would remain effective for five years;

  • Sanctions by the European Union against Iranian companies and individuals would be lifted after eight years, while U.S. sanctions would not be impacted. These sanctions include the freezing of assets and travel bans.

It was revealed in August 2015 that in late July, shortly after the agreement was presented to Congress, the leader of an elite Iranian military unit known as the Quds Force had defied a travel ban to go to Moscow and meet with Russian leaders. Qassem Soleimani was the target of a travel ban and asset freeze imposed by the U.N. Security Council in 2007, and has been blamed for hundreds of U.S. military casualties in Iraq.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user IAEA Imagebank)

Official Title

Disapproving of the agreement transmitted to Congress by the President on July 19, 2015, relating to the nuclear program of Iran.

    "I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won't be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation... who is making a horrible and laughable deal." [Trump's announcement speech]
    Like (137)
    Follow
    Share
    “The test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner... This agreement is obviously not all that many of us would have liked, but it beats the alternative – a war with Iran that could go on for years.” [twitter.com/SenSanders]
    Like (253)
    Follow
    Share
    "The choice is ultimately between diplomacy and war. Iran's nuclear program accelerates if Congress kills this deal." [twitter.com/POTUS]
    Like (113)
    Follow
    Share
    "Diplomacy is our best hope of ending the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, far better than the alternative of escalating tensions and war." [twitter.com/senwarren]
    Like (92)
    Follow
    Share
    "The Iran Deal demonstrates the tradition of American leadership to make our country, and the world, a safer place." [twitter.com/VP]
    Like (23)
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    "Today, Iran’s rulers see our sitting president as weak. @HillaryClinton would only weaken, not strengthen our position overseas. #RSG15" -twitter.com/ScottWalker
    Like (17)
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    Share
    "Obama on CNN agrees Iran is ally against Taliban? Wrong. Insight into wishful thinking that led to bad Iran deal." -twitter.com/JebBush
    Like (14)
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    Yes!!! Why does this administration trust these people??? Don't they pay attention to what is going on? Obviously not
    Like (12)
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    I'm not an expert on nuclear weapons or Iran...but the 29 Nobel laureates, science advisors and physicists who wrote a letter to Obama praising the deal are.
    Like (7)
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    Can't we at least test diplomacy before resorting to hostility? Iran was already enriching uranium with sanctions, and the deal seeks to deactivate nearly all refineries. Even if Iran doesn't honor the deal, the path to nuclear weapons is certainly slower with oversight than with no actual restraints.
    Like (6)
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    This is a treaty that has been worked out with top negotiators form many other countries as well as ours. It is a travesty that a partisan group of people will hold our President hostage to keep him from leading our country.
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    "I think it holds a lot of promise. And I think the deal will be examined and read and will soon be released so that we can see the details of it. The key is that it has to be verifiable and enforceable. If Iran were our friend, we wouldn't have to negotiate."[iowapublicradio.org]
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    While this agreement may not guarantee a "safe" Iran for generations to come, it does give us less volatile and dangerous Iran than we currently have. To vote against this deal is to intentionally undermine the work of the Executive branch for the sake of partisan politics.
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    Rejecting this arms agreement would have disastrous consequences !!
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    Can't afford it
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    Diplomacy before war: this is our chance to do things correctly and with a measured approach
    Like (4)
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    Let Donald negotiate it. If it doesn't work blow up their facilities
    Like (4)
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    I've done a lot of advocating for Israel's interests before, and I feel strongly that this agreement is excellent for that country. Some of their top military and intelligence minds agree that support of it is a best way forward (http://www.haaretz.com/beta/1.669390). Yet the country's current dominant political regime has very effectively mobilized what's to me a dispiriting tide of misinformation that's taken hold with American Jewish leadership and the Republican party. A few truths to keep in mind: there is not support across participating nations to continue prior sanctions regimes; the sanctions being relaxed pertain to Iran not previously negotiating on nuclear arms controls (which is no longer the case); funds being liberalized are several times less than purported; Iran was under no international constraints on nuclear arms development and in the past decade+ Iran's gotten far more advanced than they would have had an agreement like this been in place earlier; this agreement absolutely retards Iran's nuclear arms development for the next 15 years; the international community can continue pressuring Iran beyond the term of this agreement; all key sites can be inspected at any time and the "24 days" about which people express concern relate to practically anywhere else in the country -- allowing for any-time inspection anywhere in the country is a concession of national sovereignty to which no stable country should expect to concede and anyhow it's irrelevant to tracking Iranian nuclear efforts -- if they're doing something seriously scientific somewhere, the 24 days won't allow hiding anything. Most of all, hopefully this is a period during which this deal is a milestone of a liberalization trend for Iran, and if it's not, this deal has the right provisions for the world to get tougher quickly (the "snap back" in fact could prove a brilliant leaver to take on rising Russian & Chinese intentions for Iranian trade & relations should it prove necessary -- more leverage than where that situation had been heading)
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    This is a good deal. The U.S. Does not need another War and we, the U.S. Need to learn to work with other nations.
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    Anything is better than war, people said the same thing when Reagan negotiated with the USSR. I also believe easing trade restrictions will leader to a more free Iran.
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