Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the United States Senate would vote on a bill to toughen sanctions on Iran if international negotiators miss a deadline at the end of this month for reaching a framework nuclear agreement, Reuters reports.
"Another heavy dose of sanctions would be an appropriate remedy if there's no agreement at all," McConnell told a weekly news briefing.
If there is an agreement, he said lawmakers would move ahead on a bill that would require President Barack Obama to submit the deal for Congress' approval.
The President has threatened to veto both bills.
Democrats in the Senate pushed to delay both measures until at least mid-April to give negotiations more breathing room. Six world powers suspended talks with Iran in Switzerland on Friday and will reconvene this week to try to break a deadlock over Tehran's nuclear program.
McConnell recently agreed, following pressure from the Democrats, to postpone a vote on the bill that would give Congress 60 days to review - and potentially reject - any deal that scales back sanctions on Iran.
The measure has bipartisan support, but Democrats said they would vote against the bill if it is brought up before the March 31 deadline for a deal.
Separately, Republican Senator Mark Kirk, a co-author of the sanctions bill, told reporters on Tuesday he would introduce legislation recommending new sanctions on Iran as an amendment to a budget resolution now being considered by the Senate.
There was no immediate word on when or if that amendment might come up for a vote.
Republicans have demanded that any deal with Iran be brought for approval before Congress, while Obama has made clear that he will not submit any deal for approval. Republicans warned in a recent letter to Iran that doing so may mean that Congress or the next president will act to nullify the accord.
The letter angered Obama, who suggested Republicans were “wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.” Even Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticized the letter and said it was a sign of the collapse of “political morality” in the United States.