House to Vote on Iran Nuclear Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House was poised Thursday to overwhelmingly approve a bill that would allow Congress to review and potentially reject a nuclear deal with Iran that's still being negotiated by the U.S. and its partners.

If approved and signed by President Barack Obama, the legislation would give Congress a say on what could be a significant international accord aimed at getting Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Obama initially threatened to veto the bill, but then said he'd sign it if it was not changed from the bipartisan version that the Senate backed 98-1.

Negotiators from the U.S. and five other nations are rushing to reach a deal with Tehran by the end of June. Obama, meanwhile, is meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland with Arab leaders in hopes of easing their fears about an emerging deal. The president will try to convince them that U.S. overtures to Iran would not come at the expense of commitments to their security.

The Iran nuclear legislation would bar Obama from waiving congressional sanctions for at least 30 days while lawmakers examine any final deal. The bill would stipulate that if senators disapprove of the deal, Obama would lose his current power to waive certain economic penalties Congress has imposed on Iran.

The bill would require Congress to pass a resolution of disapproval to reject the deal, an action that Obama almost certainly would veto. Congress then would have to muster votes from two-thirds of each chamber to override the veto.

Despite some opposition from House Republicans, the chamber's leadership prevented the bill from being amended so the House will vote on the same version that passed the Senate.

Without being able to amend the nuclear bill, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has separately introduced a measure to prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions. Iran is a strong backer of the Lebanese Hezbollah, which the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization in 1995.

In the House, about 150 Democrats — enough to sustain a veto — wrote the president to express their strong support for the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Also on Thursday, the House is considering a defense policy bill that authorizes U.S. military spending, with a final vote expected on Friday.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is wrapping up its version of the bill.


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