Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | bob corker | iran deal | nuclear | pelosi

Democrats Working to Keep Congress Out of Iran Negotiations

By    |   Thursday, 09 April 2015 09:29 AM

Liberal Democrats are pushing back against a bill that would allow Congress to weigh in on a developing deal with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, agreeing with President Barack Obama that the legislation would jeopardize the diplomatic process.

"Diplomacy has taken us to a framework agreement founded on vigilance and enforcement, and these negotiations must be allowed to proceed unencumbered," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a statement on Wednesday, reports The Hill.

Pelosi's statement appeared to be coordinated with an announcement minutes later by a fellow California Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer, who urged members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to postpone a vote next week on a bill proposed by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, and Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey.

Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wants Congress to be allowed 60 days to review the outline of the deal with Iran and freeze sanctions relief against Tehran. Further, the bill allows legislators to vote on the deal.

Pelosi said Wednesday that Corker's bill undermines "international negotiations and represents an unnecessary hurdle to achieving a strong, final agreement."

Democrats may also be getting outside pressure from a coalition of liberal groups, including MoveOn.org and Democracy In Action, which are threatening to retaliate against  Democrats who support the Corker-Menendez legislation.

On Monday, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will likely be the next Senate Democratic leader, endorsed the plan, saying that he strongly believes "Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement" dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

But by Tuesday, several Democrats either were saying they were undecided on the bill or they would not vote for it, with many demanding that Republicans pull back on provisions the White House opposes.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democratic co-sponsor for the bill on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he wants to remove language requiring the Obama administration to certify that Iran is no longer a terrorism supporter. Another committee Democrat, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, said he wants to allow Obama to roll back sanctions without waiting for congressional approval, The Hill reported.

Obama and the White House have been reaching out to senators to urge them against the legislation, and on Wednesday, the president called Corker to outline his case for the deal.

The president has been threatening to veto such legislation since February, and Republicans do not believe he will come to an agreement that allows the bill to pass through with strong bipartisan support, reports The Hill.

All Republicans are likely to back the measure, but 13 Democrats are also needed to override a veto. The legislation does have nine Democrats as co-sponsors, but those Democrats and many others who were expected to back the bill are softening their stance over concerns it could hurt the ongoing negotiations.

As it stands now, Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Menendez, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Maine independent Angus King, and Schumer are expected to vote for the bill. All except Schumer are co-sponsors on the bill.

Menendez, who has stepped down from his Democratic leadership spot on the Foreign Affairs after being indicted earlier this month on corruption charges, is being replaced in the top spot temporarily by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who remains undecided on the legislation.

Democratic senators who are undecided include Coons; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York,  Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

And as for now, the Hill reports, there are 10 Democratic senators opposed to the bill:  Boxer, Murphy, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tom Carper of Delaware, Dianne Feinstein of California, Al Franken of Minnesota, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

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Politics
Liberal Democrats are pushing back against a bill that would allow Congress to weigh in on a developing deal with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, agreeing with President Barack Obama that the legislation would jeopardize the diplomatic process.
bob corker, iran deal, nuclear, pelosi, congress, sanctions
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2015-29-09
Thursday, 09 April 2015 09:29 AM
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