Bipartisan legislation in the House would create a new commission to oversee the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran made up of both members of Congress and administration officials.
The bill, which is being backed by both supporters and opponents of the Iran deal, would mimic the Helsinki Commission, lawmakers said, which was created in 1976 to oversee relations with Europe and still exists today.
Most supporters of the bill are Democrats, though one Republican — Rep. Richard HannaRichard HannaDems unveil bill to block Trump Muslim ban Rep. Gowdy rips Republican for 'unfortunate' Benghazi remark Republican: Benghazi probe 'designed to go after' Hillary MORE (N.Y.) — has also signed on.
If it advanced, the effort could represent a path forward for Congress, which has so far struggled to move bipartisan responses to the nuclear deal. Instead, lawmakers have largely fallen along party lines behind a series of GOP-led efforts to weaken or kill the agreement, which have all failed to reach President Obama’s desk.
“With the Iran nuclear agreement moving forward despite my strong opposition, it is now Congress’ responsibility to make certain that Iran complies fully with the commitments it has made,” Hanna said in a statement on Friday.
“Whether members supported or opposed this deal,” he added, “we can all agree that the best course of action moving forward is absolute transparency and vigorous oversight. The bipartisan commission created under this bill provides for both.”
“More important than the agreement reached in Vienna is Iran’s compliance with the commitments it made,” added Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation Overnight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling Connolly rips Wilson over 'you lie' during Blinken hearing MORE (D-Va.).
“I will not tolerate Iranian non-compliance, and this commission ensures that the effort to constrain the Iranian nuclear program receives the attention it deserves.”
Hannah opposed the nuclear deal when it came up for a vote in the House this summer. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) also voted against the agreement and are signing onto the new legislation.
Other Democrats who supported the nuclear deal and who have signed on to the new bill include Reps. Jim Langevin (R.I.), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Dan Kildee (Mich.), John Delaney (Md.), David Cicilline (R.I.) and Bill Foster (Ill.).
The bill would crease a new Commission to Verify Iranian Nuclear Compliance made up of 16 lawmakers split between the House and Senate, as well as one official each from the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury and Energy.
The nuclear deal is set to go into effect in coming months, pending inspectors’ initial certification that Iran has put restrictions on its nuclear program. In exchange for those new limits, countries around the globe will lift sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors.