US Senate panel passes Iran bill, allowing Congress to review nuclear deal
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has unanimously approved a bill that would allow the US Congress to review a final nuclear agreement with Iran.
The legislation passed the committee in a 19-0 vote on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama had threatened to veto the bill, but he would sign legislation after some changes were made.
The text of the bill was changed following discussions between Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who introduced it, and the committee’s new ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin on Monday night into Tuesday morning.
“The White House came to the deal when they saw the numbers of people, the growing support that was here,” Corker said. “We felt like that was a way for our members to express themselves appropriately.”
According to the bill, Obama should submit the final nuclear deal for congressional review and he would not be allowed to lift sanctions levied by Congress against Iran during the review period.
The only change of the new bill, dubbed the Iran Nuclear Amendment Review Act of 2015, is the review period that is shortened from 60 days to up to 52 days.
There is an initial review period of 30 days and 12 more days would be added if Congress passes a bill to disapprove the deal with 60 votes and sends it to Obama.
If the president vetoes the bill, there would be an additional 10 days added to allow Congress an opportunity to override the veto.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest
A framework nuclear agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in Switzerland on April 2. The two sides will work to draw up a final accord by the end of June.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed Obama’s approval to sign the legislation.
“The president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee,” he said.
“Despite the things about it that we don’t like, enough substantial changes have been made that the president would be willing to sign it,” according to Earnest.