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Iran Nuclear Talks

How the House GOP Plans to Regroup on Iran Nuclear Deal

Today on @MTP: The Iran Nuclear Deal Heads To Congress 1:16

The Republican leadership in the House is switching gears in terms of how they will disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal.

With the deal set to go into effect Sept. 17th, under the Corker-Cardin measure passed earlier this year, both chambers have until that date to register disapproval. For the deal to be killed, veto proof majorities of 67 in the Senate and 290 in the House would have to emerge.

That will not happen as the Obama administration has secured enough support for the deal from Democrats in both chambers.

So What Is The House GOP Doing Differently?

Instead of simply voting on a resolution of disapproval which was the original plan, on Wednesday the House GOP leadership came under fire from conservatives who said that the clock for when Congress received the Iran deal from the administration has not yet started. Those conservatives, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a Republican presidential candidate, said this makes the deal invalid and have called on party leadership to fight.

Wait What?

Conservatives believe that the administration has not been forthcoming enough regarding "side deals" made between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding inspections of nuclear sites. They believe that because the administration has not disclosed these deals, the formal submission process of the deal never began and thus the clock which points to Sept. 17th when the deal takes place — did not start.

So If They Feel This Way, Why Wait Till Now To Say It?

The representative who started all of this, Illinois Republican Peter Roskam, told NBC News, "I didn't realize it till I got back to Washington from recess."

Side deals between the IAEA and countries with nuclear capabilities are commonplace. The IAEA says the deals are secret because nuclear countries do not want all their nuclear information shared internationally.

Nevertheless, perhaps showing how concerned the leadership is these days with conservative rebellion, they altered their schedule to accommodate this viewpoint.

So Now What?

The House will now hold a series of three votes instead of a simple resolution of disapproval as intended.

The first vote was a non-binding expression of the House saying that the administration wasn't forthcoming regarding the side deals. The House agreed on a party line vote Thursday — 245 to 186.

Then there will be a second vote on an actual bill that says the U.S. should not give Iran sanctions relief. This should happen on Friday.

The third vote will be on abill that calls on members to vote on whether they approve of the Iran deal. The kicker here is the GOP feels they can make more Democrats vote against the deal because the vote will be held on 9/11, a date with historical significance to Americans as the nation remembers the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. and United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

What's the Senate going to do?

Actually the Senate GOP leadership disagrees with this and will not alter their process. They think that it accomplishes nothing and doesn't delay the deal because even if the Obama administration didn't turn over all the documents, they still have veto-proof majorities intact.

Could The House Use This To Sue Later On?

There is speculation from some members that at some point the House could file a lawsuit saying the Obama administration did not live up to the law regarding the Corker-Cardin bill, which deals with Congressional review of the Iran nuclear deal).

A judge could say that the clock didn't start. If for some reason such a ruling was issued by a judge during this Congress, the Obama administration would likely still have veto-proof majorities that make the lawsuit pointless.