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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Reps. Israel, Zeldin oppose Iran deal but clash on its politics

Washington - Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) are on the same side when it comes to opposing President Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal -- but they are miles apart on the politics surrounding it.

Israel, the House's highest-ranking Jewish member as part of his party's leadership team, and Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, are at loggerheads about what resolutions should be voted on and what the next steps should be now.

And what is a necessary vote to Zeldin is partisan game playing to Israel. While Zeldin shifts to the right -- he praised Donald Trump at the Wednesday rally against the deal -- Israel is trying to reconcile his opposition to the deal with his party's support for it.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Wednesday had planned to hold a single up-or-down vote on a deal disapproval resolution Thursday. But under pressure from a bloc of House Republicans -- including Zeldin -- he changed plans and Thursday is holding votes on three different resolutions.

Two of the resolutions would have the effect of making Democrats vote to support Obama's pact. One calls its legality into question.

Zeldin is a named co-sponsor of the first resolution of the day, which says Obama has failed to deliver the entire agreement because he left out side deals between Iran and international inspectors, so the 60 days of Congress review haven't even started.

"Congress is not on the clock because we haven't received the entire agreement," Zeldin said on the House floor, speaking in favor of his resolution.

"And for anyone out there who wants to be supportive of this deal, let's think what the president was telling the American public and all of us, how this was a deal that wasn't based on trust, it's built on verification," Zeldin said.

"How do you support a deal without knowing what the verification is? I would be happy to yield [his time speaking on the floor] if anyone wants to stand up and explain how do you support a bill without knowing what the verification was," said Zeldin.

But Israel wasn't buying Zeldin's argument. He said Boehner should have stuck with his plans to hold the up-or-down vote.

"I will vote against the deal, but I am not going to engage in partisan games and reckless games," said Israel in an appearance on MSNBC Thursday.

"But what's happening now is that the Speaker of the House is catering to the hard-liners in his caucus, eclipsing the support for Israel with more support for a partisan agenda," Israel said.

"What the Republicans have decided to do today, purely in order to satisfy their right wing, is not to do one resolution, but two resolutions, three resolutions," he said. "And those resolutions are excessively partisan, they are gratuitous and they are unnecessary."

Zeldin's resolution passed in a vote along partisan lines.

But it came after Senate Democrats had successfully filibustered a Senate up-or-down vote, preventing Congress from blocking Obama from implementing the agreement.

In his television appearance, Steve Israel said Republicans and Democrats should begin a "bipartisan discussion of a post-deal environment," asking what should Congress be doing to ensure Israel maintains its military edge, create a 10-year agreement for Israel to get the technology it needs to stay safe and to reset divisive rhetoric about the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

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