Tags: Barack Obama | Iran | Senate | Iran nuclear | Bob Corker | White House

Senate Set to Act on Corker's Iran Bill Amid WH Opposition

By    |   Monday, 13 April 2015 12:01 PM

The Obama administration, having came home with a framework for a nuclear deal with the Iranians, faces a tough confrontation with lawmakers who are insistent that they will have the power to weigh in on any deal.

According to The New York Times, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will formally introduce legislation Tuesday that would give Congress some authority over lifting sanctions on Iran.

The legislation enjoys bipartisan support, though Senate Republicans and Democrats are at odds over its extent. The White House remains concerned that the legislation would interfere with the delicate ongoing diplomacy it is conducting with Iran and the six powers in the run-up to the June deadline.

President Barack Obama has been critical of lawmakers but is dispatching members of his national security team to win them over, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the Times reported.

At the very least, the administration is hoping to convince lawmakers to hold off on any action until the end of June, when the final deal is expected to be signed, worried that a bill could derail delicate negotiations in the next three months.

"I want to work with them so that Congress can look at this deal when it's done," Obama told reporters, according to the Times. "What I'm concerned about is making sure that we don't prejudge it, or those who are opposed to any deal whatsoever try to use a procedural argument essentially to screw up the possibility of a deal."

Meanwhile, the White House is hoping that Democratic efforts to water down the legislation will be successful even as Republicans attempt to tighten the legislation.

"The more we see the true agenda of the right wing coming out, which is war with Iran, I think the better it is for us to try and stop this, because I know Americans don't want another war," Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, a senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told the Times.

Supporters of the bill on both sides of the aisle argue that its influence on the negotiations and its the application on the final agreement risk being overstated, according to the Times.

"My message has been, 'spend time selling the deal instead of trying to stop congressional oversight,'" Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, one of a few Republicans who has not denounced the deal, told the Times.

The bill, introduced in February by Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, enjoys widespread bipartisan support approaching a veto-proof threshold. The measure would prevent the president from lifting any economic sanctions against Iran for 60 days while lawmakers consider the final deal.

The legislation would allow Congress to approve or disapprove the lifting of sanctions that Congress imposed in 2010, or choose to take no action. The president would then have the power to veto any legislation of disapproval, the Times said.

The bill's supporters point out that the measure would not stop the president and the five other nations negotiating with Iran from making a deal that would limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions. It would not, for example, prevent the European Union or United Nations from lifting sanctions, or prevent the president from waiving sanctions that had been imposed by executive action.

But a vote in favor of the measure could prevent the lifting of congressional sanctions until Obama leaves office.

Kerry will host two briefings with lawmakers this week to try to persuade Congress to at least hold off on the legislation.

"What we're looking for is not to have Congress interfere with our ability, inappropriately, by stepping on the prerogatives of the executive department of the president," Kerry said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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The Obama administration, having came home with a framework for a nuclear deal with the Iranians, faces a tough confrontation with lawmakers who are insistent that they will have the power to weigh in on any deal.
Senate, Iran nuclear, Bob Corker, White House
Monday, 13 April 2015 12:01 PM
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