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What happens next in Congress for the Iran deal?

Once Congress receives the actual details of the deal, a 60-day review period begins. Then what?
President Barack Obama walks with Vice President Joe Biden, after delivering remarks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., July 14, 2015, after an Iran nuclear deal is reached. (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Barack Obama walks with Vice President Joe Biden, after delivering remarks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., July 14, 2015, after an Iran nuclear deal is reached.

Selling the Iran deal: Get ready for the latest political fight in the Obama Era … NBC’s Frank Thorp on what happens next in Congress with its 60-day review period … The Obama administration’s best argument in support of the deal: The alternative is worse … Opponents’ best argument against the deal: It makes Iran even stronger in the region … The 2016 angle on the Iran deal … And there’s this intriguing contrast for GOP voters: Walker’s “fight and win” vs. Jeb’s “right to rise.”


*** Selling the Iran deal: Get ready for the latest political fight in the Obama Era: After years of negotiation and involvement from other world powers, the historic nuclear deal the United States reached earlier this morning with Iran might have been the easy part. The harder part is President Obama selling it to a Republican-controlled Congress. But there is one important hitch: Under legislation Congress passed earlier this year, Obama could veto any vote of disapproval — and it would take two-thirds votes from both the House AND Senate to override Obama’s veto. In other words, it means House and Senate Democrats would have to abandon the president and his party for Congress to nix the deal, which isn’t likely. Still, the deal is going to set off the latest political battle in the Obama Era, and it will occur in the midst of the 2016 presidential contest. “I welcome a robust debate in Congress,” Obama said this morning in announcing the deal. That he most certainly will get, as NBC’s Alex Moe observed. So Obama has two things that must happen for this to truly be seen as a legacy achievement: 1) it has to get through Congress, and 2) it’s got to work. And we won’t know that second part for a long, long time.

*** What happens next in Congress: Per NBC’s Frank Thorp, once Congress receives the actual details of the deal, a 60-day review period begins. During that time there will be hearings in both the House and Senate from administration officials and outside experts. During that review, Thorp adds, President Obama is prohibited from suspending, waiving, or otherwise reducing congressional sanction. Congress then will go on its month-long August recess. While hearings would likely start before the recess, any vote of approval or disapproval would likely wait until after they return from August recess on Sept. 8. If Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval (from both the House and Senate), and sends it to President Obama's desk for his signature, it would start another 12-day clock which gives Obama the ability to veto the resolution. After President Obama presumably vetoes the resolution, Congress would have 10 days to attempt to override the veto, which would require a two-thirds vote from both chambers. Finally, Thorp concludes, if Congress is able to override a veto on a joint resolution of disapproval during that period, it would permanently prevent the president from waiving or suspending Congressional sanctions.

*** The Obama administration’s best argument in support of the deal: The alternative is worse: Maybe the best argument that the Obama administration and its allies have in support of the nuclear deal with Iran is that the alternative is far, far worse. “Without this deal, there's no scenario where world joins us in sanctioning Iran,” Obama said this morning, referring to the other countries (Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) who joined with the United States. “Without this deal,” Obama added, “there would be no agreed-upon limitations for the Iranian nuclear program. Iran could produce, operate, and rest more and more centrifuges.” And the president said, “No deal means no lasting constraints on Iran's nuclear program. Such a scenario would make it more likely that other countries in region would feel compelled to pursue their own programs, threatening an arms race in most volatile region of world.” On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) agreed with this view: “It would be a catastrophe for us to walk away.”

*** Opponents’ best argument against the deal: It makes Iran even stronger in the region: And maybe the best argument that opponents can make against the deal is that it makes Iran much, much stronger in the Middle East, which could produce destabilizing effects. That is what has Israel so worried. Ditto Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries. Already, Iran is maybe the strongest player in the region, and the deal makes them even stronger. Here’s how GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham put it: “[I]t’s akin to declaring war on Sunni Arabs and Israel by the P5+1 because it ensures their primary antagonist Iran will become a nuclear power and allows them to rearm conventionally,” he told Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin.

*** The 2016 angle on the Iran deal: There’s one final angle on the nuclear deal -- the reaction from the 2016 presidential candidates. How will Hillary Clinton (who helped lay the groundwork for this deal as secretary of state) respond? Given her past work on it and her past statements, she’ll probably support it. And the GOP candidates, not surprisingly, will oppose it. Here’s Mike Huckabee’s statement: "Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America.’” And some of the 2016 Republicans have said they’ll undo the deal on their first day in the White House. “We need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One,” Scott Walker said in his presidential announcement last night. But here’s the real question for these Republicans: Can they really do it? Especially given that allies and world powers like Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia all signed on to the deal? So say an American president rips up the deal -- who gets blamed for the aftermath? That’s the tricky situation.

*** Walker’s “fight and win” vs. Jeb’s “right to rise”: As for Scott Walker’s presidential announcement last night, his speech sets up a potentially intriguing contrast with Jeb Bush. You have Walker’s “fight and win” message versus Jeb’s aspirational “right to rise”/”compassionate conservative” Part II message. The question we’ll find out starting six months from now: Which message resonates more with GOP primary voters?

OBAMA AGENDA: A big gamble on Iran

Breaking this morning: Iran and world powers have reached a historic deal for Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions, NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Abigail Williams report.

In remarks from the White House at 7am ET, Obama said that "today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons" in the Middle East.  And he pledged to veto any legislation from Congress that prevents the implementation of the nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the deal, saying, "Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world. This is a bad mistake of historic proportions."

Here's NBC's Q&A on what happens next now that the deal is done.

Analysis from The New York Times: "Mr. Obama will be long out of office before any reasonable assessment can be made as to whether that roll of the dice paid off. The best guess today, even among the most passionate supporters of the president’s Iran project, is that the judgment will be mixed. Nothing in the deal announced Tuesday eliminates Iran’s ability to eventually become a nuclear threshold power — it just delays the day … Yet it is a start.”

The Wall Street Journal on what comes next for Obama: "He must turn to selling the deal to a skeptical Congress, and to managing relationships in a volatile Middle East, where the notion of an emboldened Iran has rattled longtime U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia. Some of the core milestones for the implementation of the agreement, sealed in Vienna on Tuesday, will overlap with the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the one that will choose Mr. Obama’s successor, ensnaring them in an unpredictable political dynamic. And after more than three decades of hostility and mistrust between the U.S. and Iran, American officials are uncertain how compliant Tehran will be over the deal’s time frame."

POLITICO looks at how a Republican president could undo the Iran deal after taking office in 2017.

From the AP: "Defense Secretary Ash Carter has ordered a six-month study aimed at formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service, saying the Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military need to be examined."'s Dafna Linzer writes that the president's commutation of 46 prisoners' sentences was particularly remarkable because "he made sure that everyone knew about his decision, why he made it and what he hoped it would accomplish."

OFF TO THE RACES: Tracking (and charting) the money race — so far

Some of us(!) compiled what we know about how much the 2016 campaigns and outside groups have raised — and compared it in one handy chart.

Republican candidates are aggressively wooing home school advocates in Iowa, Bloomberg reports.

National Journal surveyed RNC leaders and found that the GOP establishment is deeply divided over the 2016 field.  

BUSH: He's continuing his trip through Iowa today. The Iowa Republican writes that Bush's push in the state is more aggressive than it seems. "Even though he has spent limited time in the state, his campaign has made a point to visit the areas of the state that will be critical for him if he hopes to be competitive on caucus night."

He drew about 240 people to an event in Sioux City Monday, where he said he supports phasing out the Renewable Fuel Standard, notes the Sioux City Journal.

CLINTON: She's on the Hill today to meet with congressional Democratic groups. Writes The New York Times: "For Mrs. Clinton, the meetings highlight the degree to which her second presidential campaign is aggressively reaching out to those who did not support her last time around. A star senator from New York in the 2008 campaign, Mrs. Clinton was viewed with suspicion and some hostility by some of her colleagues, some of whom served as early supporters of Senator Barack Obama, then her rival."

From's Alex Seitz-Wald: "In its most comprehensive response yet to the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, her presidential campaign Tuesday posted to their website a 3,600 word fact sheet it hopes will become their side’s definitive take on the issue. While the document covers little new ground and follows previous campaign statements, it provides the most detailed and extensive answers to lingering questions about the issue in one place, and represents an acknowledgement that the issue continues to be a distraction for Clinton’s second bid for the White House."

She’s going to release the names of her bundlers, the New York Times reports.

HUCKABEE: He said of the Iran deal: "Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America.'   John Kerry should have long ago gotten up on his crutches, walked out of the sham talks, and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran."

KASICH: He's picked chief of staff Beth Hansen as his campaign manager.

GRAHAM: He said that the deal is "akin to declaring war on Israel and the Sunni Arabs" in an interview with Bloomberg.

O'MALLEY: He'll release a white paper later this morning outlining his plans for fixing the nation's immigration system.

WALKER: He formally announced his presidential bid in Waukesha last night. From Andrew Rafferty's report: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought to portray himself not only as a fighter but a winner when he when he became the 15th Republican to enter the 2016 presidential race on Monday."

NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. writes on why Walker is considered such a strong candidate, and what could hurt him. "The danger for Walker is becoming the Rick Perry of 2012, a leading candidate who collapses in the debates."

Analysis on his run from the Washington Post's Dan Balz: "He fought the left and the left lost. It is a message that conservatives tired of losing in presidential races yearn to hear — victory without great compromise. It is the characteristic that he hopes will distinguish him from the other Republicans — some as or more conservative, some less — who are running for their party’s nomination."

Getting some play this morning: During a FOX News appearance, Walker said: "The left claims they’re for American workers, and they’ve got lame ideas, things like minimum wage...We need to talk about how we get people skills and qualifications they need to get jobs that go beyond minimum wage.”

NBC News' Carrie Dann contributed to this report.