Cruz wants delay in Iran review period because of 'side deals'

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again MORE is pushing to delay the start of Congress's 60-day review period for the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran.

The Texas Republican argues the review period should not begin until after the administration hands over "side" deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  

Cruz, who is running for president, introduced a resolution on Thursday arguing that President Obama didn't hand over all materials — including the side deals — to Congress. As a result, he said the 60-day clock shouldn't have started to tick. 
 
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Cruz says that under the terms of the review legislation Congress overwhelmingly passed earlier this year, any side deals were included as parts of the deal that had to be turned over to lawmakers. 
 
The Cruz legislation states: "The 60-calendar day period for review of such agreement in the Senate cannot be considered to have begun until the Majority Leader certifies that all of the materials required to be transmitted under the definition of the term 'agreement' under such Act, including any side agreements with Iran and United States Government-issued guidance materials in relation to Iran, have been transmitted to the Majority Leader."
 
The State Department interprets the review period as having begun on July 20, meaning that lawmakers have until mid-September to try to pass legislation on the deal.
 
Delaying the start of the deal would give more time for opponents of the deal to pressure a handful of key Senate Democrats after they return from the August recess in September. 
 
The two bilateral agreements between Iran and the IAEA have become a focal point of Republican opposition to the deal, as well as a point of concern for some Democrats who have suggested they want a better understanding of the deals. 
 
The push from Cruz comes as Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown 'Morning Joe' host quizzes Howard Schultz on price of a box of Cheerios Huawei charges escalate Trump fight with China MORE (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas), who first raised questions about the "side" deals, wrote to Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizWhat we learned from the first Green New Deal Overnight Energy: GOP pushes back on climate | 2018 was fourth hottest year on record | Park Service reverses on using fees Pompeo: Kerry's conversations with Iran 'unseemly and unprecedented' MORE on Thursday requesting the two administration officials clarify when, and if, they've read the two agreements between Iran and the IAEA. 
 
While McConnell hasn't specifically called for delaying the review period, he, as well as House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Left flexes muscle in immigration talks MORE (R-Ohio), Cotton and Pompeo asked Obama to turn over the agreements earlier this month. 
 
They said that not having them "leaves Congress blind on critical information regarding Iran’s potential path to being a nuclear power and will have detrimental consequences for the ability of members to assess the JCPOA." 
 
McConnell said on Thursday that he had yet to receive the documents from the White House, adding that the delay is "simply not acceptable."  
 
The administration, which has said they don't have the text of agreements, has pledge to brief lawmakers on the substance of the deals during closed-door briefings as they try to get Congress to back the long-term nuclear deal.