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 CornynLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Victims of Nazi Art theft need Congress to HEAR Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails 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 MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 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 KirkBattle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate Women make little gains in new Congress 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.