This past week the House and Senate considered the nuclear deal President Obama negotiated with Iran. The deal was essentially done when the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to lift the sanctions placed on Iran. By prior agreement with President Obama, Congress could vote to disapprove the deal but it would take a two-thirds majority in both chambers to over ride the President’s veto. However, in the Senate, Republicans were unable to muster 60 votes to overcome a filibuster by the Democrats to prevent a vote on the deal itself. We use our Weekly Constant-Space DW-NOMINATE Scores to do the vote plots. The vote on cloture is shown below:
Only Cardin (D-MD), Manchin (D-WV), Menendez (D-NJ), and Schumer (D-NY) voted with the Republicans in favor of cloture. All except Manchin are to the interior of the caucus so the vote does not fit the spatial model that well with a PRE of only 0.14.
In the House there were three votes. The first was on whether or not the President had fully disclosed all the side deals of the agreement. This was essentially a straight party-line vote:
The second vote was to Approve the Agreement. On this vote 25 Democrats in the Center and the Center-Right of the Caucus voted with the Republicans against the agreement. The vote had a respectable PRE of 0.77:
Finally, the House voted on a resolution “To suspend until January 21, 2017, the authority of the President to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran.” This was another party-line vote:
Given the outcome of these votes the issue is essentially settled. No doubt there will be attempts made by the Republicans to claim that the “period for review” had not started because the President had not fully disclosed all the side agreements (e.g., IAEA with Iran). But because of the Security Council action there is little Congress can do. What is likely to happen is the Congress with President Obama’s support will transfer more advanced weaponry to Israel.