Some two dozen Democrats broke with their president Friday and voted against the Iran nuclear deal as it came up for a largely symbolic vote in the House. Following three hours of heated debate, lawmakers voted 269 to 162 to reject the agreement. Every Republican voted against a resolution of approval aside from libertarian Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, who voted only as "present," the Hill reported.
The failure of the resolution will not prevent the nuclear agreement from moving forward, as Senate Democrats voted Thursday to block a resolution disapproving of the agreement, negotiated among Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers. Senate Republicans have vowed to hold further votes on the agreement, but 42 Democrats are supporting it, enough to block debate. The House GOP leadership had planned to propose a resolution to scap the deal but backed off.
The 25 Democrats in the House opposed to the deal included a mix of lawmakers, and some of them more conservative, or representing large Jewish constituencies or facing tough re-election races next year, the Hill reported.
The Iran nuclear agreement has ignited a heated debate over security and America’s relationship with the Middle East. The agreement includes provisions to see crippling international sanctions against Iran lifted in exchange for a commitment from Iran to abandon any nuclear weapons program, which it denies having.
The accord has come under heavy scrutiny from many Republicans who have argued Iran cannot be trusted to keep to the terms of the agreement, and have said a lifting of sanctions will work to bolster the Islamic Republic. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been the deal’s chief international opponent.
President Barack Obama has sought to convince critics that the agreement is based on an unprecedented level of inspections and is sure to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He has called the debate surrounding the deal "the most consequential foreign policy debate that our country has had since the invasion of Iraq."
Secretary of State John Kerry has said an agreement with Iran could see an easing of relations between the two countries, allowing the U.S. and Iran to address mutual regional security concerns in the future.