Senate to vote Tuesday on Iran
© Francis Rivera

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCan Manchin answer his predecessor's call on voting rights? Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' Democrats' narrow chance to retain control after 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday that the Senate will hold a procedural vote Tuesday on legislation that would prevent President Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran until lawmakers review a nuclear deal.

Despite threats from Democratic senators over the timing, McConnell filed cloture on the legislation Wednesday, teeing up a procedural vote one hour after the Senate convenes on Tuesday. 


“There is nothing partisan about the Senate acting to fulfill its constitutional role,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, responding to the criticisms. “I was surprised that some senators made statements objecting to their own legislation. ... This isn't complicated.”

The legislation requires Obama to submit any legislation to Congress for review. Obama wouldn't be allowed to lift sanctions against Iran while Congress was debating the agreement. 

Negotiators face a March 24 deadline to reach an agreement on a framework for a final deal. 

Ten senators have vowed to oppose the bill if it is taken up before the deadline and doesn't go through the Foreign Relations Committee.

“There is no immediate or urgent need to circumvent the Committee process and we are disappointed that you’ve pursued this partisan course of action,” Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), wrote in a letter to McConnell.

Tuesday's legislation is a duplicate of a bipartisan proposal introduced last week. McConnell suggested that the Senate could still debate the original proposal if it gets passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee in time. 

“That, Mr. President, is called the regular order,” he said. “The actions we've taken would allow the sponsors of this sensible bipartisan legislation to begin the debate next week.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC News on Wednesday that negotiators could be “very close” to a deal. 

Citing the report, McConnell suggested that senators have to act now because “time is running out.”

“The Iranians need to know that... the congressional sanctions, will not be lifted if a bad deal is reached,” he said.