Bay State lawmakers were quick to praise their home-state negotiators, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, for bringing home a non-proliferation agreement with Iran, after prolonged final discussions in Vienna last week.

They were not as eager to promise their vote in favor of the deal, however.

Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren both put out statements promising to study the agreement, with a particular eye toward enforcement measures. The House members said much the same things. Even Rep. Jim McGovern, in a generally glowing statement calling it a "historic nuclear agreement," would only go so far as “carefully reviewing the agreement and having a robust debate.”

"I'm of the same viewpoint,” Rep. William Keating told me. "I'm grateful for the extraordinary effort" of Kerry and Moniz, but "there is good reason to continue to analyze this agreement."

Keating, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was part of a group of Congressmen who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem two months ago. Netanyahu, who has condemned the agreement, spent most of the hour-and-a-half meeting discussing the Iran negotiations, Keating says.

"The tone was actually very conversational and philosophical," he said. "They are concerned about a strengthened Iran as an existential threat — as they should be."

However, Keating said, it's important to consider the context of the agreement, and what would happen if Congress rejects it. In as little as two to three months, he says, Iran could have developed its weapons-making capability. "If you have to go back and negotiate with a country that has nuclear capability, that's much more difficult."

The Other Nuclear Deal

Keating, as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, is also reviewing a major nuclear cooperation agreement with China. It would allow the U.S. to sell materials and technology for China's civilian nuclear energy reactors, updating the two countries' terms for the first time in three decades.

Congress must act on that agreement by the end of July. Keating's committee held a hearing on it last week, addressing concerns that the technology could end up being used for other purposes, including military.

Nevertheless, Keating says that there is bipartisan agreement to approve the deal, which would not only be financially lucrative for the U.S., but also ensure the safety of China's fast-booming nuclear energy network. “Nuclear safety is an issue that affects all of us,” he said. “This is an area that is important, that seems to go under the radar.”

Warren A "No" On Ed Bill

Lawmakers typically want to find a way to be in favor of big pieces of education-related legislation — bills such as the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which came to a vote in the U.S. Senate Thursday. Oh, sure, some conservatives, who think the federal government should stay out of school business entirely, are happy to cast a no vote. But not many Democrats want to join them, and risk being accused of opposing funding for schools.

Elizabeth Warren, once again, showed herself to be an exception: She found a way to move from yes to no on ESEA. She was one of only three Democrats — along with Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey — on the losing end of an 81-17 vote for passage Thursday. This was after she voted in favor of the bill in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee earlier this year.

The bill reworks (and renames) the “No Child Left Behind” plan enacted as part of the 2001 ESEA re-authorization, moving some authority from the federal to state governments and easing some testing requirements.

In a statement, Warren said that she voted in favor of the ESEA reauthorization in committee "on the promise that it would improve,” but that Republicans subsequently blocked votes intended to provide "basic, fundamental safeguards to ensure that federal dollars are actually used to improve schools and educational outcomes for those students who are often ignored."

Though not explicitly stated, Warren is referring to an amendment she offered, that was withdrawn by Senate leaders. It would have required states to disaggregate and cross-tabulate academic assessment data — that is, report on the achievement of students across categories of race, ethnicity, gender, and disability, rather than just within those categories.

This assurance was a high priority of some civil rights organizations. The NAACP urged passage of Warren's amendment, as did the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. After being included in the docket of amendments to be voted on, however, it was quietly pulled from the floor on Wednesday.

Warren had also co-sponsored an amendment, submitted by Murphy, requiring states to use such cross-tabulated data in assessments. That amendment, backed by civil rights groups but strongly opposed by the National Educators Association, was voted down on a mostly party-line vote. New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was one of only three Democrats who voted against it.

The bill now heads for a conference committee, to work out differences with the House version of the legislation.

Correction: Warren's amendment on cross-tabs was replaced with a similar amendment, that was adopted, requiring states to report data that can be cross-tabulated. Her vote against the bill was related more directly to the failure of Murphy's amendment.

Social Media Photo Of The Week

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark occasionally poses with dogs, in promotion of her Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, to protect pets of domestic-violence victims. This time, it's a bunny: Wally, a resident of her district with more than 180,000 Instagram followers (@wally_and_molly).