APN Legislative Round-Up: August 7, 2015

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Hearings
3. Members on the Record

NOTE: APN has extensive resources on the Iran deal here, including:

- Our regularly updated list of Members of Congress who have committed publicly to support the deal when Congress votes on it in the coming weeks
- Our compendium of comments from Israeli security and nuclear experts in support of the deal
- Our constantly updated collection of the best analysis and commentary on the deal

Also note: Congress is now in recess until Sept 8 (yippee!), which means the Round-Up is also in recess until then.  See you next month!

1. Bills & Resolutions

(DISAPPROVAL OF IRAN DEAL) H. J. Res. 61: As discussed in last week’s Round-Up, H. J. Res. 61, currently entitled the “Hire More Heroes Act of 2015” will be the vehicle for the Congressional resolution to disapprove of the Iran deal.  This bill must be passed in both the House and Senate and sent to the White House by midnight on 9/17, or under the terms of the Corker Iran deal review bill, the President may begin implementation of the deal (and Congress has lost its chance to block the deal).  Based on reports from House and Senate staff, the Senate will vote first on the resolution, which is scheduled be brought up for debate as soon as Congress returns to session on September 8. The House is then expected to adopt the Senate-passed text. That text will then go to the President, who has 12 days to veto it (but is likely to do so immediately). It will then go back to Congress, which will have 10 days to vote to try to override the President’s veto – an act that will require a 2/3 majority vote in both the House and Senate to vote against the President. The House will get first shot at this (since technically this is a House resolution).  Further complicating this timeline are the Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashana falls on 9/14-9/15; Yom Kipper is on 9/23; Sukkot is on 9/28-9/29).  An excellent graphic showing a timeline going forward with all of this is available here.

(DISAPPROVAL OF IRAN DEAL) H. J. Res. 64: Introduced 8/4 by Royce (R-CA) and no cosponsors, “Disapproving of the agreement transmitted to Congress by the President on July 19, 2015, relating to the nuclear program of Iran.”  Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Financial Services, the Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means Committee. NOTE: As discussed above, H. J. Res. 61 – not H. J. Res 64 – is expected to be the vehicle for the Iran deal disapproval vote.

(NO ARMS TO BAHRAIN) S. 2009: Introduced 8/6 by Wyden (D-OR) and Rubio (R-FL), “to prohibit the sale of arms to Bahrain.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

 

2. Hearings

8/5: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Military Balance in the Middle East.” Witnesses were: Walter Russell Mead, Hudson Institute (Testimony); Michael Singh, WINEP (Testimony); Ray Takeyh, CFR (Testimony); Philip Gordon, CFR (Testimony); Richard Nephew, Columbia University (Testimony).  Chairman McCain’s (R-AZ)  statement is here; ranking member Reed’s (D-RI) statement is here. Video of the hearing is here.

8/5: The Senate Banking Committee held a two-panel hearing entitled, “The Implications of Sanctions Relief under the Iran Agreement.” Panel 1 witnesses were: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (testimony), and Acting Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin (testimony).  Panel 2 witnesses were: Juan Zarate, FDD/CSIS (testimony); Mark Dubowitz, FDD (testimony); Matthew Levitt, WINEP (testimony); and Nicholas Burns, Harvard Kennedy School (testimony). Video of the hearing is here.

 8/5: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “Implications of the JCPOA for U.S. Policy in the Middle East.” Witnesses were: Michael Singh, WINEP (testimony) and Ken Pollack, Brookings (testimony).  Video of the hearing is here.

8/4: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Military Balance in the Middle East.” Witnesses were: General Michael V. Hayden, USAF (ret.) (no testimony);  Nicholas Burns, Harvard Kennedy School (Testimony); Eric Edelman, Distinguished Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Testimony); Richard Haass, CFR (Testimony).

8/4: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “JCPOA: Non-Proliferation, Inspections, and Nuclear Constraints.” Witnesses were: David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security (testimony); Robert Joseph, National Institute for Public Policy (testimony); and Gary Samore, Harvard University - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (testimony). Video of the hearing is here.

 

3. Members on the Record

On Iran: Virtually every member of Congress has made (and continues to make) statements – in the Congressional Record, in press release, in media appearances, on Twitter – about the 7/14 Iran nuclear deal. There is simply no way to cover them all here.  What can be said, briefly, is that statements from GOP members of Congress remain, for the most part, negative; statements from Democrats in Congress are for the most part positive (some very positive, some more cautiously so), with many Democrats in essence saying they are hopeful but are (reasonably) withholding final judgment until they have had time to review the deal.  A simple Google search of a specific Member of Congress’ name + “Iran Deal” will clarify where most members stand at this time.

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