As mentioned in our previous briefing, following the July 14, 2015 agreement between the P5+1/EU3+3 and Iran on the JCPOA, the JCPOA was subject to review by Congress under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 provides that once all JCPOA documents are sent to Congress, Congress would have sixty days in which it could pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing. A resolution of disapproval, were it to become law, would block President Obama from suspending or relaxing Iran sanctions as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. President Obama promptly made clear his intention to veto any resolution of disapproval. Accordingly, Congress may only block US implementation of the JCPOA if two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to override any veto of any resolution of disapproval. The House of Representatives has passed two resolutions disapproving of the deal, but by less than a veto-proof majority. The Senate, pursuant to its filibuster rule requiring 60 Senate votes to end debate and proceed to a final vote on the resolution of disapproval, blocked a resolution to reject the JCPOA on September 10, 2015. A second vote on such a resolution in the Senate was held yesterday, which also failed, falling 4 votes short of the 60 votes required to move ahead on such a resolution. Accordingly, the Senate is highly unlikely to send a resolution of disapproval to President Obama's desk, and the review period will conclude on September 17, 2015, without a Congressional resolution of disapproval having been passed.
Some Senate Republicans have argued for a delay in the review period, as the Senate has not obtained a copy of certain bilateral agreements between the IAEA and Iran. They have been joined by Speaker of the House John Boehner in demanding the President release these agreements. The JCPOA's Congressional opponents have threatened litigation claiming the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 was not followed as these documents were not released.