The Obama administration will seek to avoid a vote in Congress on any nuclear deal with Iran, according to The New York Times.
“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” one senior U.S. official told the Times.
The U.S. and five world powers are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline. Any deal would likely include Iran cutting back its nuclear program in exchange for a loosening of U.S. sanctions.
The Times reports that the Treasury Department has conducted a study concluding that President Obama can suspend the vast majority of sanctions without congressional approval. Permanently ending the sanctions would still require a vote from Congress.
Obama has already drawn fire from Republicans for bypassing Congress in other areas, and lawmakers on both sides have called for a vote to authorize U.S. strikes against ISIS.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, linked to the article on Twitter Monday and wrote, "This will not stand."
This move could anger Democrats as well.
There is deep concern about a nuclear deal with Iran on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as lawmakers fear it would leave Iran too close to being able to make a nuclear weapon.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert MenendezRobert MenendezTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump Corruption trial could roil NJ Senate race MORE (D-N.J.) signaled that Congress would in fact weigh in. “If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond," he told the Times. "An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.”
"Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99-0 vote,” added Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkThe way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump ObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood MORE (R-Ill.).
The administration says there would be an initial lifting of sanctions and that they would be reimposed if Iran failed to hold up its end of the agreement.
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told the Times there “is a role for Congress in our Iran policy,” but she did not seem to dispute the report that the administration would not initially seek a vote.
— This story was updated at 9:19 a.m.