Cantor Pushes Bipartisan Bill on Iran Deal

Image: Cantor Pushes Bipartisan Bill on Iran Deal

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 08:09 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has told House Republicans he wants a bipartisan bill to define what would be an acceptable outcome in a final deal with Iran on its nuclear development program.

According to the National Journal, the Virginia Republican, told colleagues Tuesday he is "really upset" with the U.S.-negotiated agreement that lifts some economic sanctions while forcing Iran to freeze only portions of its nuclear program.

The deal sets a six-month deadline to reach a broader international agreement, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are questioning its initial terms.

Cantor, the Journal noted, is working with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on possible legislation that would "speak volumes" about what Congress expects out of a final agreement.

One senior Republican aide told the Journal that Cantor wants a total prohibition on Iran's nuclear program and is pushing for a bipartisan agreement on that point that can be written into legislation.

Cantor's office declined to comment on the details of what a final bill might look like. But his spokesman, Rory Cooper, told the Journal, "The leader does not believe the interim agreement with Iran was in our nation's best interests, and he will work with fellow members, Republican and Democrat, to determine that any final deal definitively addresses congressional concerns."

The House has already passed its own measure to keep pressure on Iran through sanctions, but the Democratic controlled Senate is reportedly under White House pressure to back off a sanctions bill that could be pushed through before Christmas.

The Obama administration believes such a bill could hinder talks with Iran leading up to a permanent deal. But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez says new sanctions will "strengthen the administration's hand" by showing Iran what will happen if it fails to reach an acceptable agreement in six months.

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