Republicans Announce Plan to Require a Vote on Iran Nuclear Deal

A group of senators said late Wednesday that sanctions would be automatically reimposed if the White House does not consult Congress.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks to reporters before going into the Senate Chamber to vote, on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. The shut down is currently in it's 12th day.  
National Journal
Clara Ritger
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Clara Ritger
July 23, 2014, 2:42 p.m.

A group of Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors wants to re­quire Pres­id­ent Obama to come to Con­gress for ap­prov­al on any nuc­le­ar deal with Ir­an.

Sens. Bob Cork­er of Ten­ness­ee, Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Car­o­lina, Marco Ru­bio of Flor­ida, John Mc­Cain of Ari­zona, and James Risch of Idaho an­nounced late Wed­nes­day a plan to man­date that the pres­id­ent sub­mit a deal to Con­gress for con­sid­er­a­tion with­in three days of con­clud­ing an agree­ment with Ir­an.

Cork­er, the primary spon­sor of the bill, said com­ing to Con­gress is in the pres­id­ent’s in­terest, be­cause it will help garner the sup­port of the Amer­ic­an people for a fi­nal deal.

“Hope­fully, this will be­come something that is very bi­par­tis­an,” Cork­er said. “This bill is about trans­par­ency.”

Ac­cord­ing to the sen­at­ors’ Ir­an Nuc­le­ar Ne­go­ti­ations Act, if the pres­id­ent does not sub­mit a deal to Con­gress, sanc­tions will be auto­mat­ic­ally re­im­posed.

The bill would also auto­mat­ic­ally re­im­pose sanc­tions on Ir­an on Nov. 28 should a deal not be reached by the Nov. 24 dead­line an­nounced last week by the P5+1.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the bill re­quires that Con­gress be in­formed with­in 10 days if the ad­min­is­tra­tion finds that the Ir­a­ni­ans vi­ol­ated the deal or failed to co­oper­ate with the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency, which con­ducts in­spec­tions of nuc­le­ar fa­cil­it­ies. If the Ir­a­ni­ans do not hold up their end of the deal, the sen­at­ors said, the sanc­tions would be auto­mat­ic­ally re­im­posed.

Ru­bio said he sup­por­ted le­gis­lat­ing stricter pun­ish­ment for Ir­an if it does not up­hold the bar­gain be­cause he is skep­tic­al that it will.

“They want re­lief from as many sanc­tions as pos­sible without agree­ing to any sanc­tions on their nuc­le­ar pro­gram,” Ru­bio said. “I know that so many oth­er is­sues are go­ing on around the world, but what should not be lost in all of this is the am­bi­tions of a rogue na­tion to ac­quire a nuc­le­ar weapon and es­tab­lish dom­in­ance in the re­gion.”

Gra­ham said be­cause Con­gress im­posed the sanc­tions, it should have a say in wheth­er the deal is strong enough to lift them.

“Pres­id­ent Obama felt he needed con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al to move for­ward in Syr­ia, and Con­gress should in­sist on be­ing in­volved in any nuc­le­ar deal with Ir­an,” Gra­ham said. “I can­not think of any­thing more ser­i­ous we would vote on oth­er than go­ing to war.”

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