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house Bill H.R. 3461

Should Congress Approve the Iran Nuclear Deal?

Argument in favor

This agreement is the best chance the global community has for keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Regardless of what the U.S. does, Iran will get sanctions relief elsewhere, and backing out of the deal could lead to war.

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10/02/2015
"We have got to do everything we can do to reach an agreement to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon without having to go to war." [sanders.senate.gov]
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BrianDeanMSF's Opinion
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09/11/2015
It's my understanding that this deal is essentially as good as it gets in this situation. Consider the saying, "if both sides are unhappy, you've probably found a good middle ground". I think that is the case for this deal, except that Iran is slightly unhappier than we are, but they are willing to submit to the restrictions.
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Dennis's Opinion
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09/11/2015
America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776. Why in Gods name we can't give peace a chance?
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Argument opposed

Plain and simple, this is a bad deal — Iran enjoys the benefits of lifted sanctions, without entirely dismantling its nuclear program. The risk that Iran will continue with its goals of equipping for nuclear warfare is too great.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
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10/02/2015
"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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billwdk9's Opinion
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09/15/2015
The only deal with Iran worth even considering signing would, in my opinion, look like this. 1. Completely strip Iran of its ability to possess fissionable material, enrich uranium or plutonium (i.e. dismantle centrifuges) and possess ballistic missiles or any other long-range nuclear delivery mechanisms. 2. Insist that Iran allow true ANYTIME/ANYWHERE unfettered inspections by teams that include Americans. 3. Insist Iran must Publicly Acknowledge and Accept Israel as the Legitimate state of the Jewish people with Jerusalem as her Eternal Indivisible Capital. 4. Release all Hostages. 5. No 10 year Sunset Clause. 6. Stop inciting the Iranian people to chant, "Death to America" and "Death to Israel"
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Loraki's Opinion
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10/22/2016
No! لا! Non! نہیں! 沒有! Nein! Όχι! לא! नहीं! Нет! نه! Need I go on?!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Rejected September 11th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 162 Yea / 269 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Trade
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedSeptember 9th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 3461?

This bill would give the official stamp of approval from Congress on the Iran nuclear deal. Also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA), the deal imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program and calls for inspections at its nuclear facilities. Iran has made these promises in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that include 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. It granted Congressional lawmakers 60 days to review the deal before making a final decision one way or the other — without amendments. 

In order for their decision to take effect, both the House and the Senate have to vote on the issue before to September 17, 2015. If they disagree with the deal and face the already threatened presidential veto, Congress needs two-thirds majorities in both chambers to stop the JCPA. 

Impact

People in the U.S. who support or oppose the Iran nuclear agreement, U.S. and Iranian diplomatic relations, businesses that can work with Iran if sanctions are lifted, the threat of nuclear winter, the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, Congress, and the President.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3461

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth

House Speaker and sponsor of this bill, John Boehner (R-OH) did not put out a press release for this bill specifically — but he spoken up about his plans for the deal

"This debate is far from over, and frankly, it’s just beginning. This is a bad deal with decades-long consequences for the security of the American people and our allies. And we’ll use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow, and delay this agreement from being fully implemented.”

This bill has been considered part of a three prong approach that predominately Republican members of Congress have put together to "stop, slow, and delay" the agreement. 

"House Republican leaders canceled [a] scheduled procedural vote as a concession to conservatives and called a late-afternoon caucus meeting to discuss a path forward. Members emerged agreeing on a new plan to vote on a trio of measures designed to register disapproval with the president: a resolution indicating that Obama did not meet his obligations to send all relevant negotiating documents to Congress; a bill blocking Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran; and a separate measure approving of the deal, which is expected to fail." 

The New York Times muses that this bill and it's brethren are "intended to undermine the president and embarrass Democrats," by forcing Democratic members to voice support for the deal on the record. This could explain why Speaker Boehner — a vocal critic against the deal — is the lead sponsor of this bill.

And while it seems unlikely that any of the bills in the trio will be able to halt the nuclear deal, the stalling tactics have many House republicans confident that they will be able to throw a wrench in the deal. The Washington Post notes: 

"Several House members leaving the closed-door session said the process will allow them to vote against Obama’s foreign policy in Iran  and establish grounds to later sue the White House on grounds that it illegally negotiated the deal."

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 expansive — covering 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.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell & Jenny Simeone
(Photo Credit: Google Maps Screenshot)

Official Title

To approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed at Vienna on July 14, 2015, relating to the nuclear program of Iran.

    "We have got to do everything we can do to reach an agreement to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon without having to go to war." [sanders.senate.gov]
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    "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 (70)
    Follow
    Share
    It's my understanding that this deal is essentially as good as it gets in this situation. Consider the saying, "if both sides are unhappy, you've probably found a good middle ground". I think that is the case for this deal, except that Iran is slightly unhappier than we are, but they are willing to submit to the restrictions.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776. Why in Gods name we can't give peace a chance?
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    If you got a 'better deal', let me hear it.
    Like (11)
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    The only deal with Iran worth even considering signing would, in my opinion, look like this. 1. Completely strip Iran of its ability to possess fissionable material, enrich uranium or plutonium (i.e. dismantle centrifuges) and possess ballistic missiles or any other long-range nuclear delivery mechanisms. 2. Insist that Iran allow true ANYTIME/ANYWHERE unfettered inspections by teams that include Americans. 3. Insist Iran must Publicly Acknowledge and Accept Israel as the Legitimate state of the Jewish people with Jerusalem as her Eternal Indivisible Capital. 4. Release all Hostages. 5. No 10 year Sunset Clause. 6. Stop inciting the Iranian people to chant, "Death to America" and "Death to Israel"
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    War is never the answer--only the causes of problems.
    Like (9)
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    No! لا! Non! نہیں! 沒有! Nein! Όχι! לא! नहीं! Нет! نه! Need I go on?!
    Like (8)
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    Having read the "propaganda" being generated from my Federal Representative who offers no reasonable, rational or workable alternative, I feel this is our best option. We need to stop feeding our "war" economy, (which was the alternative my representative wants to continue). This is what other countries have agreed too. We need to as well.
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    This deal is ridiculous and the equally ridiculous and dim witted Senators, Corker (R) & Cardin's (D) legislation for "review" of the deal versus calling it a TREATY which it absolutely is, is Unconstitutional! We the People have once again been duped by our Congress who refuse to stand for the Constitution or We the People. I called my Senators, did you?
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    This is a good deal. It allows their progress and more importantly connects Iran to the world again. Our cultural influence will be much greater through markets and western media exposure.
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    BecauseI don't want a NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST INTHIS COUNTRY.
    Like (3)
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    First off this needs to be a treaty and second I don't trust Iran. They say "Death to America" every day, all day.
    Like (3)
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    John Kerry himself has stated that he is not certain that the full agreement has been read and has stated that some of the money has gone to terrorist organizations.
    Like (3)
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    Never in a million years. And we should not give any money to any country that openly says death to America!
    Like (3)
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    Yes, it's literally the only alternative to war because republicans can't think of anything that doesn't start with "defund" or "bomb"
    Like (3)
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    Is it perfect? No. Is it a start that doesn't have us going to war? Yes. Now, perhaps we can start building on it. You know, like grown ups.
    Like (2)
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    This agreement makes America seem weak- the last thing we need in such a situation.
    Like (2)
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    They are the Enemy and we should blow up their country. Sick and tired of those who hate us
    Like (2)
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    Always peace before anything else.
    Like (2)
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