Something extraordinary happened in the House of Representatives yesterday.
As Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck were speaking to a huge rally in front of the U.S. Capitol against the controversial nuclear agreement with Iran, a rebellion by rank-and-file House members forced House Speaker John Boehner to abruptly alter how the House will vote on the nuclear accord.
According to some accounts, opposition by many GOP House members on how Boehner planned to handle the Iran deal was so strong that there was talk of ousting him as speaker if he did not change course.
The rebellion was led by Reps. Peter Roskam and Mike Pompeo, who believe President Obama has not complied with provisions of the Corker-Cardin bill, which require him to provide all documents associated with the Iran nuclear agreement to Congress, including all side agreements, for a congressional review.
Roskam and Pompeo believe this includes the secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran under which Iranians will collect nuclear samples for the IAEA. Sen. Tom Cotton and Pompeo were told about these side deals by accident during a July visit to IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
Obama officials told Congress the IAEA has briefed them on the side deal documents but they will not be provided to U.S. officials or Congress. Secretary of State John Kerry has claimed the side deals are part of a normal and confidential IAEA arrangement to verify nuclear agreements with a member state.
However, as I assessed in an Aug. 31 Investor’s Business Daily Op-Ed, one side deal document shown to The Associated Press appears to be a first draft written by an Obama administration official to drop an issue that was an obstacle to a final nuclear agreement by concealing it in an IAEA-Iran side deal that Congress cannot see.
If true, this was a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to violate the law.
Many members of Congress already were outraged over the Iran nuclear deal which they believe will serve as a glide path to an Iranian weapon, has weak verification and will provide over $100 billion in sanctions relief that Iran is certain to spend on terrorism, destabilizing the Middle East, ballistic missiles, and its nuclear program.
The secret side deals issue has pushed many members of Congress too far and led rank-and-file House Republicans to object to Speaker Boehner’s plan to move forward with a plan agreed to under the Corker-Cardin bill to pass a resolution of disapproval against the Iran deal.
Congressman Roskam and Pompeo as well as many at yesterday’s rally such as Sen. Cruz, Frank Gaffney, and Mark Levin, insist that the failure of the president to turn over the secret side deals is a violation of the law, prevents the clock on congressional review of the nuclear agreement from starting and bars Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran.
Republican opposition to a resolution of disapproval has been growing because of a widespread belief that the Iran deal should have been submitted for Senate ratification as a treaty which would require a 2/3 vote of approval.
By contrast, a resolution of disapproval needs veto-proof and filibuster-proof majorities. This means the Iran deal can survive congressional review with only 1/3 plus one support in either house.
Because of the GOP House rebellion, Boehner dropped the resolution of disapproval. Instead, the House reportedly will pass three resolutions on the Iran agreement: one that says the president has violated Corker-Cardin by not providing the side deals to Congress; one barring President Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran; and a third “approving” the Iran deal that House Republicans will vote against and most Democrats will support.
Cruz just announced his own alternative for congressional review. He suggests Congress cannot consider the Iran deal because the side deals were not provided. He also proposed a sense of the Senate resolution declaring the Iran deal is a treaty and that there is insufficient support in the Senate to ratify it as such.
Finally, Cruz wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Boehner to warn banks that they may face billions in civil (and possibly even criminal) liability once President Obama leaves office if they release funds to Iran under the nuclear deal.
It is unclear at this time what will happen next. Senate Republican leaders have criticized the new House approach on how to vote on the Iran deal. Corker said yesterday that Congress is “much better off” passing a resolution of disapproval and claimed the Iran deal will go forward unless the House passes one by Sept. 17.
I spoke with Sen. Lindsey Graham who told me yesterday the new House approach is a mistake since it will not force President Obama to veto a resolution of disapproval.
McConnell appears to be ignoring the House rebellion and has scheduled a procedural vote on a resolution of disapproval today at 3:45 p.m. McConnell has condemned Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to use a filibuster to block a Senate vote on the Iran deal.
This confusing mess is the result of President Obama trying to force through a dangerous nuclear agreement with Iran brought about though national security fraud that is opposed by the American people by a 2-1 margin.
While the president and congressional Democrats probably will be able to block these efforts, this groundswell of opposition to President Obama’s national security incompetence will likely have a significant effect on the 2016 elections and beyond.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, followed the Iranian nuclear program for the CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee. He is senior vice president for policy and programs at the Center for Security Policy. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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