The State Departments’ No.2 diplomat on Wednesday signaled the administration would oppose an up-or-down vote on any nuclear agreement reached with Iran.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that such a vote would, among other things, undermine U.S. credibility on commitments made during the talks and set a bad precedent for future executive actions on international affairs.
He said U.S. negotiators would have “stronger leverage” by than by “pronouncing immediately” that Congress approves or disapproves of a possible deal.
It is “too soon to judge” the still-elusive deal, according to Blinken.
His comments come as the GOP-controlled Congress considers to two pieces of legislation on the nuclear talks.
Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.), the new chairman of the Foreign Relations panel, has drafted legislation to let Congress weigh in by allowing it to take an up-or-down vote on any deal the White House reaches with Tehran.
Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee next week is slated to take up a bill drafted by 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) MenendezBiden, don't punish India Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict MORE (D-N.J.) that would reimpose sanctions against Tehran if a deal is not reached by a self-imposed deadline of June 30.
President Obama pledged to veto any new sanctions on Iran during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Corker said he has met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and negotiators from France and the European Union, adding that none of them voiced concerns about Congress taking action.
He said the diplomats believe such a move would “strengthen the hand” of Western negotiators.
Corker told Blinken he would be open to a “series of votes” as talks continue. But for time being, he said, he is “disappointed” the administration believes Congress does not have a role in the discussions.
Corker said he would welcome administration engagement with Congress "like you are doing with Iran."
Menendez, the panel's top Democrat, said Blinken's comments "sound like talking points straight out of Tehran."