Republicans push for changes to Iran bill

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMissouri Republicans eying Senate bids to hold fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago Guilfoyle named as national chair of Greitens' Senate campaign in Missouri The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (R-Mo.) on Monday became the latest Republican to request changes to legislation allowing Congress to weigh in on a nuclear deal with Iran, setting up hurdles as lawmakers work on a path to passage.


The Missouri Republican introduced four amendments, including one that would tie implementation of an agreement to the release of Americans currently being held in Iran. Another would order the Obama administration to give an assessment on what, if any, cooperation there is between Iran and North Korea on their nuclear programs.

“As we move towards a final agreement, our number one priority should be doing everything possible to prohibit Iran – whose influence in the region and in the world is already disproportionate – from ever having nuclear weapons capacity,” Blunt said Monday in a statement. “These amendments will help strengthen and advance negotiations with Iran, ensuring that Congress and the American people have the authority to review and weigh in on an agreement.”

Blunt also introduced an amendment that would force the administration to clarify its policy on Iran's underground facility at Fordow, and an amendment that requires the Defense Department to continue submitting an annual report on Iran's military power through December, 2026.

Blunt is the latest Republican to offer changes to the Iran legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 MORE, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. The White House said that President Obama would sign the legislation after the Tennessee Republican reached a deal with Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? Battle lines drawn on Biden's infrastructure plan MORE (D-Md.) earlier this month.

Bu conservative Republicans, including 2016 presidential hopes Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Is the antidote to bad speech more speech or more regulation? MORE (Texas), are pushing for Democrats to have to walk the plank in a series of votes on the Iran legislation. They want amendments that, if taken up, would force Democrats to choose between opening themselves up to political attacks by voting against them, or angering the White House by backing them.

Wendy Sherman, under secretary of State for political affairs, said Monday while the administration is "working very hard" with lawmakers, she added that there are "a lot of pretty awful amendments."

"We’re working very hard with Congress," she said at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Biennial Leadership Policy Conference. "This legislation will be on the floor of the Senate this week. There will be a lot of pretty awful amendments, quite frankly, and we’ll see where we end up."

Sherman added that while Obama has pledged to sign the Corker-Cardin deal, "if it becomes something else, then he’ll have to consider his options."

Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee are hoping the legislation can pass with as few changes as possible. Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges MORE (D-N.J.) warned his colleagues last week that he would vote against any "poisonous" amendments.

A Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday found that 58 percent of Americans support a preliminary deal on Iran's nuclear program, with 13 percent saying they backed military intervention against Iran versus negotiating a deal on its nuclear program. Twenty one percent of Republicans said they backed military intervention.