Week ahead: Obama officials work to sell Iran deal

Top administration officials are headed to Capitol Hill to sell lawmakers on the Iran nuclear deal.

Republicans have already skewered the agreement that lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Tehran's nuclear program, arguing that the Obama administration and Western powers made too many concessions.

Many Democrats remain deeply skeptical about the deal and remain on the fence, despite a pair of closed-door meetings with Vice President Biden.

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But the administration is keeping up the push. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryRubio wants DOJ to find out if Kerry broke law by meeting with Iranians Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Pompeo doubles down on criticism of Kerry: The Iran deal failed, 'let it go' MORE, along with Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizPompeo: Kerry's conversations with Iran 'unseemly and unprecedented' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Mueller indicts 12 Russian officials for DNC hack | Trump does damage control after bombshell interview Pope to meet with oil execs to discuss climate change: report MORE -- who joined him during the marathon talks in Vienna -- and Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE will provide a closed-door briefing for all House members.

And on Thursday, Kerry, Moniz and Lew will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the accord. Lew will likely face tough questions about the sanctions relief Iran will receive.

Foreign Relations Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips Corker GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser Corker blasts Trump's 'ready, fire, aim' trade policy MORE (R-Tenn.) has said he would withhold judgment on the deal until he reviews it, but that his analysis will "begin with skepticism."

Lawmakers have a 60-day review period after which they can vote to approve or disapprove the deal. But with President Obama threatening a veto of any measure that blocks the deal, critics need to muster two-thirds support in each chamber.

With most Republicans leaning against the deal, the White House must shore up Democratic support.

The Cabinet officials are sure to get an earful from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap MORE (D-N.J.), who has voiced strong concerns about the bill and has opposed the administration on its Cuba policy. Also on the panel are two GOP presidential hopefuls, Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' For Poland, a time for justice Judiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh MORE (Fla.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (Ky.).

Iran isn't the only big item on lawmakers' agenda.

Members of the House and Senate Armed Services panels remain neck-deep in negotiations over the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us MORE (R-Ariz.) recently surprised many when he said the massive policy bill would be done in the coming week. Aides later walked back that statement, but signaled the measure -- which Obama has threatened to veto -- could be released soon.

On Tuesday, McCain's panel will break from talks to consider Gen. Mark Milley's nomination to be the next Army Chief of Staff. He would replace Gen. Ray Odierno, who completes his tenure in September.

On Wednesday, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee will convene to hear from VA Secretary Robert McDonald about the agency's estimated $3 billion budget shortfall.

Department officials have warned lawmakers to give "flexibility" to move funds around or risk shutting down VA hospitals in August.

Off Capitol Hill, Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyWant to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches Situation in Yemen should lead us to return to a constitutional foreign policy Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war MORE (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, will speak at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Wednesday about the Iran deal.

 

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