WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether to reject the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran when lawmakers return to Washington in September, party leaders said on Tuesday, setting up a showdown with the White House.
“This deal gives up too much, too fast, to a terrorist state – making the world less safe, less secure, and less stable,” said Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who introduced the disapproval resolution.
A law President Barack Obama signed in May gives the Republican-led Congress until Sept. 17 to approve or disapprove of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers announced on July 14.
A disapproval resolution could cripple the agreement by eliminating Obama’s ability to temporarily waive most U.S. sanctions, and Obama has promised a veto if a resolution passes Congress.
Lawmakers could have opted to vote on a non-binding approval resolution, or just let the deal go ahead. Although they had not made it clear before Tuesday, House leaders had been expected to opt for the disapproval resolution.
The top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, said the Senate will also likely consider a disapproval measure.
Obama’s diplomatic initiative won important support on Tuesday among his fellow Democrats, increasing chances that deal supporters would be able to sustain Obama’s promised veto.
Democratic Senators Tim Kaine, who co-authored legislation giving Congress the right to review the deal, Barbara Boxer, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Bill Nelson, who had been seen as a potential swing vote, all announced their support.
“As dangerous a threat as Iran is to Israel and our allies, it would pale in the threat posed to them and to us by a nuclear-armed Iran,” Nelson said in a Senate speech.
However, three Jewish House members said they were opposed, including Steve Israel, a member of the House Democratic leadership; Nita Lowey, ranking member on House Appropriations and Ted Deutch, a senior member of House Foreign Affairs. Lowey and Deutch are both Democrats.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposes the nuclear agreement, calling it a threat to the survival of the Jewish state. Some pro-Israel groups have been lobbying against it, increasing pressure on Jewish lawmakers and those with large Jewish constituencies.
Congress will have less than two weeks to consider a resolution after the August recess. The House left Washington last week. The Senate departs Friday.
Additional reporting by Alex Wilts, Emily Stephenson and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sandra Maler and James Dalgleish