House rejects Iran nuclear deal

Story highlights

  • The House votes can't prevent the administration from starting to implement the agreement later this month.
  • The White House announced Friday a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the works.

Washington (CNN)A day after the Senate secured President Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal, blocking a Republican resolution to scuttle it, the GOP-led House pressed forward with a pair of votes designed to show a majority of the chamber disapproves of the agreement.

The votes come at the same time that the White House announced a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the works. Netanyahu has strenuously opposed the deal and appeared before Congress in March to lobby against it.
The Prime Minister will probably visit the White House in "early November," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a press briefing Friday. No specific date was given.
    The fresh House votes can't prevent the administration from starting to implement the agreement later this month, but Republicans want to send a political message.
    A bill approving of the nuclear deal was resoundingly defeated, with 25 Democrats joining House Republicans in expressing opposition to the pact. One Republican, Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie, voted "present."
    On a second vote largely along party lines, the House passed legislation stating that the President could not unilaterally lift statutory sanctions. The measure was non-binding, and Senate Republicans have no plans to advance the bill. The vote was 247 to 186, with two Democrats voting with Republicans.
    House Republicans recognize that after a relentless White House campaign to bolster Democratic support -- giving Obama enough votes to sustain a veto of any anti-Iran deal bill -- that they would not be able to prevent the administration from beginning implementation of the pact later this month. But they insisted that their framework of votes on the nuclear deal, in particular a vote Thursday afternoon, would set up a potential lawsuit.
    That non-binding resolution states that the President violated the law by not giving Congress the details on "side deals" to the nuclear agreement related to inspections of Iranian sites, which are government by secret arrangements between Tehran and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.
    Ahead of the House votes Friday, Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam railed against the Iran deal and suggested the fight against it isn't over in a speech on the House floor.
    "Is this just a bad idea or is it the worst idea ever?" he asked. "The notion that this is all done and this is just a settled case -- it's not."
    Coming on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the debate on the House floor Friday was at times emotional.
    Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly stood next to a large poster of New York's Twin Towers and argued that letting the deal go through threatened national security.
    New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley called out Republicans for scheduling the final vote on 9/11, accusing them of trying to "stir emotions."
    Noting that he lost a cousin in the 9/11 attacks, along with friends and constituents, he said his decision to support the White House was a tough one.
    But Crowley added that after giving then-President George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt to approve the war in Iraq in 2002, he would give the same benefit to the current president "to take us to peace."
    Obama released a statement after the House votes stressing that the vast majority of House Democrats went on record supporting the deal.
    "As we conclude the most consequential national security debate since the decision to invade Iraq, I am gratified that the lawmakers, led by Democratic Leader (Nancy) Pelosi, who have taken care to judge the deal on the merits are joining our allies and partners around the world in taking steps that will allow for the implementation of this long-term, comprehensive deal," he said.