Senate Committee Approves Iran Bill

Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approves legislation that would require Congress approval of deal with Iran.

Elad Benari ,

Senate building
Senate building

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved, 19 to 0, legislation granting Congress a voice in negotiations on the Iran nuclear accord, The New York Times reported.

The legislation will now go to the full Senate, after President Barack Obama earlier withdrew his opposition rather than face a bipartisan rebuke.

Republican opponents of the nuclear agreement on the committee sided with Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters in demanding a congressional role as international negotiators work to turn this month’s nuclear framework into a final deal by June 30.

The bill would mandate that the administration send the text of a final accord, along with classified material, to Congress as soon as it is completed. It also halts any lifting of sanctions during a congressional review and culminates in a possible vote to allow or forbid the lifting of congressionally imposed sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Hours before the vote, a deal between Republican and Democratic senators was reached to support the bill.

"We have reached a bipartisan agreement that keeps the congressional review process absolutely intact, full of integrity," said Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is one of the key authors of the bill.

While Obama was not “particularly thrilled” with the bill, his spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that the president decided the new proposal put together by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was acceptable.

“What we have made clear to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is that the president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee today,” Earnest told reporters, according to The New York Times.

With committee passage, the Senate would most likely approve it this month. Republican leaders in the House promised swift action on the Senate bill.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Monday also expressed support for the bill. McCarthy said he would bring the bill to the House floor if the Senate approves it.