Speaker scuttles Iran vote to maintain House discipline
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Speaker scuttles Iran vote to maintain House discipline

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, scuttled a vote on Iran sanctions to punish tardy lawmakers.

Ryan’s closing of the vote Wednesday postpones consideration of the bill, backed by Republicans, until after the Martin Luther King Day congressional recess next week – and likely after the next stage of the Iran nuclear deal kicks in.

Ryan, R-Wis., shut down voting after the requisite 15 minutes as part of a pledge to tighten discipline in the House. The bill passed, 191-106, but more than 130 lawmakers failed to vote, leading Ryan to reschedule, according to The Hill, a congressional daily.

U.S. and Iranian officials say Iran within the next few days is likely to meet its nuclear rollback requirements under the deal, which would trigger a lifting of sanctions.

If that goes according to schedule, the next time the U.S. House of Representatives considers the bill, many of the sanctions it seeks to keep in place will have been lifted.

President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill, which is backed only by Republicans and would restrict his ability to waive sanctions. Obama says the bill’s provisions effectively re-litigate the Iran nuclear deal, which the Congress failed to kill last year.

The bill would maintain sanctions on Iran for backing terrorism and testing ballistic missiles. The Obama administration says the deal focuses narrowly on stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and as long as Iran abides by its agreements regarding its nuclear sector, it makes more sense to address its disruptive behavior in the region through other means.