FEATURED:

Senate panel could move next week on Iran bill

Senate panel could move next week on Iran bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerJuan Williams: Trump's hostile takeover of the GOP Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal Flake not ruling out 2020 run against Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) are planning to move as early as next week on their bill, which would allow Congress to review any framework agreement with Iran reached by the March 24 deadline. 

Corker plans to hold a committee vote on the bill as early as next week and is working with Menendez on the exact timing, according to aides. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had tried to fast-track the bill to the floor earlier this month, Menendez and other Democrats withdrew their support until after March 24. 

Corker, who needed Menendez's agreement as ranking member on the committee, also agreed to hold off until March 24 before moving the bill through committee. 

A committee vote could come just days after a framework agreement with Iran is reached and before the agreement is due to be finalized by June 30. 

The White House opposes any legislation passed before June 30 and earlier this week reissued a veto threat on the Corker-Menendez bill, which would delay the deal's implementation for 60 days to allow Congress to approve it. 

The Senate Banking Committee has already passed a bill co-authored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would allow the U.S. to restore and levy new sanctions on Iran if no deal is reached by June 30, or if the interim or future deal is violated. 

Democrats have also agreed to withhold support on that bill until March 24 but would likely look to pass the Corker-Menendez bill instead if a framework agreement is reached. 

At least 14 Democrats have expressed support for the Kirk-Menendez bill, and at least 10 Democrats have expressed support for the Corker-Menendez bill, which would likely give Republicans a veto-proof majority on either. 

Although an explosive letter to Iran by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) threatened to blow up bipartisan support for the bills, several Democrats have said it did not change their support for the bills.