Bipartisan Iran oversight bill heading to Senate floor

Obama and his fellow Democrats support the bill, which will grant Congress oversight powers over any future comprehensive nuclear agreement.

May 6, 2015 06:02
1 minute read.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters at the US Capitol

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters following the weekly policy lunch at the US Capitol in Washington. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has begun the process of ending debate on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, paving the way for a vote by the full chamber as early as Thursday.

If both houses of Congress pass the bipartisan bill, it would provide legislators with an architecture for oversight of any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. The deal would have to be submitted in its entirety to Congress, and proof of compliance would be required consistently throughout the life of the deal.

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McConnell filed a “cloture” motion to begin the process on Tuesday. The bill’s author, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), says he expects it to earn the backing of more than two-thirds of his colleagues in the 100-member body.

“If we get to the final vote without additional blowups between now and then, I think it’s going to be overwhelmingly supportive,” he said this week.

Corker made a presentation to his fellow Republican senators at a closed-door lunch meeting on Tuesday, urging them to support the measure without major changes.

One senior Democratic aide told The Jerusalem Post to expect a vote on Thursday, unless some Republican senators – namely, those running for president – try to stretch out the clock.

A dispute among Republican senators over amendments last week had left Senate and Foreign Relations Committee leaders scrambling for a way to move forward with the legislation.

At least 67 amendments to the bill had been offered by Tuesday, all by Republicans.

Many were considered “poison pills,” which would have killed the legislation by alienating too many Democrats for it to pass or, if it did pass, provoked a veto by US President Barack Obama.

One proposed amendment, from Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate from Florida, would require certification that Iran’s leaders have publicly accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Negotiators for the European Union and Iran will resume talks in Vienna on Tuesday, joined three days later by officials from six world powers, the EU said. Deadline for a comprehensive joint plan of action is June 30.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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