Iran Vote Puts Focus on House Democrats

Pelosi (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Pelosi (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 3, 2015 at 2:42pm

House lawmakers return from the August break next week with a slate of issues they need to resolve before Oct. 1 — most notably government funding — and one issue they’ll tackle almost immediately: Iran.  

The House is scheduled to start debate on a disapproval resolution that aims to block the Iranian nuclear deal on Wednesday. And while Republicans are overwhelmingly, perhaps entirely, against the nuclear agreement, the question is how many Democrats will oppose the deal. On Wednesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said there were more than 100 Democrats who had announced their support for the Iran nuclear agreement. Democrats in the House need 144 votes to sustain a presidential veto of the disapproval resolution, if every Republican votes against the agreement — and if President Barack Obama even needs to veto the disapproval resolution.  

After Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., became the 34th Democrat to come out for the deal, that solidified the Senate’s ability to sustain a veto. The new question is whether Democrats can get 41 votes in the Senate to filibuster the disapproval legislation, halting it in its tracks, and save Obama’s veto pen some ink.  

In the House, Democratic leaders are increasingly bullish they will get 144 votes — a number that, at this point, would only be a psychological win. (The vote next week is simply a majority vote on adopting the disapproval resolution; a two-thirds majority vote to override the president’s veto would come later, if it comes at all.)  

For Republican leaders, there’s little drama. The whip operation to watch is the Democrats’, and the only real question is whether Pelosi can get to 144. If the California Democrat does, it’d be a public relations win for her and Obama.