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Stutzman, Messer urge rule change over Iran deal

Posted at 7:58 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 19:58:46-04

Two of Indiana's U.S. Representatives joined 55 other Republican members of the House this week in calling for a rule change to allow a vote on President Barack Obama's proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

Rep. Luke Messer and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, both Republicans, signed the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) asking for a simple majority vote to be allowed on the deal.

Current rules require at least 60 votes to overcome a procedural filibuster and allow the vote to reach the floor of the vote.

In the letter, authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Republicans say the current super majority rule "is not serving our country well."

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"As members of the House of Representatives, we respectfully urge the Senate to modify its rules to a majority vote threshold of 51 senators to approve some legislation," the letter says. "Some pieces of legislation, like the Iran nuclear deal, are simply so consequential that they demand revisions to the Senate's procedures."

The letter puts Republicans, who almost uniformly oppose the deal, on the opposite side of a 2013 debate over Senate rules regarding presidential appointees.

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At the time, Senate Democrats, who controlled the chamber, changed the 60-vote rule to a simple majority vote for appointments made by the President, claiming Republicans were engaging in "unprecedented" delays in confirming presidential appointees.

It's not the first time since regaining control of the Senate that House Republicans have called for a rule change.

Earlier this year, GOP members of the house asked McConnell to change the filibuster rule to allow a bill defunding Obama's executive actions on immigration.

McConnell and other top Republicans rejected that idea; with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) saying the answer was for Democrats to stop being "obstructionists," according to The Hill.

In early September, Gov. Mike Pence signed a letter to the White House saying Indiana would not drop its own sanctions against Iran, regardless of whether the deal goes through.

Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner have also floated the idea of a lawsuit against the President to prevent the deal from happening.