Kerry seeks to reassure lawmakers on support for Israel
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryChina emitted more greenhouse gasses than US, developed world combined in 2019: analysis Overnight Energy: Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process| EPA official directs agency to ramp up enforcement in overburdened communities | Meet Flint prosecutor Kym Worthy Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process MORE is seeking to reassure Congress on the Iran nuclear deal, suggesting the administration is willing to work with lawmakers on regional security and support for Israel in the wake of the agreement.

Kerry sent a letter on Wednesday to House and Senate lawmakers outlining steps the administration has taken, or is willing to take, to bolster security for countries in region, including Israel.

He said that under the nuclear deal President Obama has a "wide range" of options to counter Iran's support for terrorism, as well as its missile program, and that the president is "prepared to further strengthen our security relationship with Israel."


"The administration stands ready to work with Congress on appropriate legislation that would endorse these measures and provide such authorities and resources as may be necessary," Kerry added in the letters to Congress. "U.S. support for Israel and our Gulf partners has never been a partisan issue, and we believe these proposals would receive wide, bipartisan support."

Kerry's letters come as Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiBottom line How the US can accelerate progress on gender equity Former Md. senator Paul Sarbanes dies at 87 MORE (D-Md.) became the 34th senator to back the Iran deal, ensuring that Obama's veto of a resolution of disapproval will be upheld and the agreement will survive Congress. Obama will need 41 supporters in the Senate if he hopes to block the resolution from initially passing.

Democrats, while announcing their support of the deal, have also pushed the administration to take a tougher stance on Iran's non-nuclear activities, including support for terrorist groups, and to beef up military and financial support for Israel.

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.), who backed the deal on Tuesday, said the administration pledged to detail how it will push back against Iran's support for terrorism. He added that he would work with senators to "pursue legislation to address the deal’s shortcomings."

Meanwhile, Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyA historic moment to truly honor mothers Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE (D-Pa.), who said the United States must develop a "more aggressive response" to Iran's actions in the region, told The Hill that "it may require new legislation, but it may simply be an effort to... either beef up or to enhance all of the existing strategies" including "potentially a better use of existing sanctions."

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Fox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said late last month that he expects Congress to pass legislation later this year that "begins to articulate and push forth a foreign policy initiative in the Middle East."

"I think many Democrats that, you know, end up voting for this are going to be wanting to latch themselves on to something," he added.

Corker also told reporters last month he expects Congress to pass an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, likely later this year. The law is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, but Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJuan Williams: A breakthrough on immigration? Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line MORE (D-N.J.) have introduced legislation to extend it through 2026.

The administration has voiced skepticism about renewing the sanctions law. So far, only Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Crist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job MORE (R-Fla.), who is running for president, has signed on as a cosponsor to the Kirk-Menendez legislation.

Coons, during his speech on Tuesday, suggested that he was open to extending the sanctions law. A spokesperson for Coons said that while he "certainly he supports an extension in principle... I'm not sure on that [specific] bill."