McConnell on Iran: Obama can't 'work around Congress forever'

McConnell on Iran: Obama can't 'work around Congress forever'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Pelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday warned President Obama not to agree to an unsatisfactory deal over Iran's nuclear program, suggesting the president’s unilateral moves on Iran had their limit.

"Obviously, the president doesn't want us involved in this. But he's going to need us if he's going to lift any of the existing sanctions. And so I think he cannot work around Congress forever," McConnell said in an interview aired on CBS's "Face the Nation."

McConnell on Thursday backed off holding a vote on a bill allowing Congress to weigh in on any bill the administration strikes with Iran, which Obama has vowed to veto, after Democrats threatened to pull their support if it was taken up before the March 24 preliminary deal deadline.


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said later on the same program that McConnell "overreached" by trying to bring the Iran bill to the floor before Democrats were ready.

Still, Schumer acknowledged that "Congress has a right to weigh in, and I support [that]."

McConnell said Sunday that he is "hoping" for a veto-proof 67-vote majority to advance the bill, but didn't mention a timeline of whether he would push to bring it up again before the end of the month.

"The fact that the president doesn't seem to want Congress to participate in this underscores what a bad deal it is, because I think he's afraid that we might not approve it," McConnell said.

"So I'm very worried about it. And I hope that the president will not make the bad deal that we all anticipate he is going to make," he added.

Obama said in another CBS interview aired Sunday that he sensed "urgency" in securing a deal, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back in another interview on the program.

"I think we need to, as the prime minister pointed out, know who we're dealing with here," McConnell said.

"The Iranians are fomenting trouble in Syria, in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen. All over the Middle East, they're on the march. They've had enhanced influence in Iraq. We can't ignore all of their other behavior in looking at the potential nuclear deal. What we do know about the deal is it looks like it will leave the infrastructure in place with one of the worst regimes in the world," he added.