Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) opened debate up to the full Senate Thursday on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously.
The legislation now has 62 co-sponsors, which has increased bipartisan support and pressured President Obama to back off his earlier threat to veto the bill.
The bill gives Congress time to review the deal after President Obama finalizes negotiations with Iran prior to any sanctions on Iran being lifted and gives Congress the power to reject or approve the final nuclear negotiation.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said prior to the committee vote, “In my view the way to send a message to Tehran about our expectations is for Congress to put politics aside” and pass this legislation.
“Without this bill, there is nothing stopping the president from bypassing the American people, immediately waiving sanctions imposed by Congress and unilaterally implementing an agreement with Iran,” said Corker. “This legislation ensures the president will submit an agreement to Congress for review and a vote.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) attempted to keep a provision that was in the original language of the bill with an amendment, but it was voted down in committee. Barrasso’s amendment would have made Obama certify that Iran hasn’t participated in any terrorist acts against the U.S. or against U.S. citizens.
Daniel Horowitz, writer for the Conservative Review, said the approval process in the legislation lowers the threshold for approval of the deal from 67 senators to 34 if Obama were to issue a veto.
“By passing this bill, Republicans will be openly legitimizing his Iran deal without formal ratification, a reversal of their stated position in the Cotton Letter.”