Senate

Schumer sides with GOP on reviewing Iran deal

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New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the next in line to become Senate Democratic leader, is demanding that Congress review and approve any nuclear deal struck with Iran. 

Schumer, who will likely replace Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) at the end of next year, says President Obama must submit the deal to Congress despite the administration’s reluctance to do so. 

{mosads}“This is a very serious issue that deserves careful consideration and I expect to have a classified briefing in the near future. I strongly believe Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement and I support the Corker bill which would allow that to occur,” he said in a statement. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has introduced legislation requiring Congress to review any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran before the president can waive or suspend sanctions on the country, according to a description of the bill posted on his website. 

The Foreign Relations panel is expected to approve the bill on April 14, after Congress returns from a two-week recess. 

Schumer quietly co-sponsored the bill before the recess. 

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would require the administration to submit a final deal to Congress for a two-month review period prior to waiving sanctions. 

The Democratic co-sponsors include Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.). 

The bill lost some momentum last week, however, when Menendez, who served until recently as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, stepped down from his post to fight federal bribery charges, a case that could drag on for months. 

His successor, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has been more circumspect about supporting Corker’s bill. 

“The more unity we can have among Democrats and the White House, the stronger U.S. foreign policy will be,” Cardin told The New York Times, sending a signal he wants to see the Corker bill toned down. 

A senior Democratic aide said Schumer’s support for Corker’s bill should not be a surprise.

“It’s the same position he’s always held,” the aide said. 

The pending diplomatic understanding with Iran would require it reduce its number of centrifuges by two-thirds and dramatically cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium over the next 15 years.

The deal is not expected to be finalized until June. 

“[W]e want a good deal negotiated. But before [the Obama administration] starts unraveling the [sanctions on Iran] that Congress put in place, we want to make sure that they show us the deal,” Corker said in a statement before the recess. “I do think we are going to pass a piece of legislation that gives Congress that ability to weigh in on behalf of the American people.” 

Senate Republicans need to round up 67 votes to override an expected presidential veto. Its Senate sponsors expressed optimism last month that they would be able to clear that hurdle.

Schumer’s statement on the Corker bill was first reported by Politico.

Tags Ben Cardin Bill Nelson Bob Corker Charles Schumer Harry Reid Joe Donnelly Michael Bennet Richard Blumenthal Robert Menendez Tim Kaine
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