A proposal that would allow Congress a say on any nuclear and sanctions agreement with Iran has been approved by the White House. The proposal has strong bipartisan support from members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and while it shortens the review period for an agreement and still gives President Obama significant leeway to veto, it limits his ability to soften new sanctions if they have been imposed by Congress.
The bill arrives just ahead of a June 30th deadline set by the White House and Iranian leaders to agree on a deal. Obama’s agreement with Iran would allow the country limited development of uranium for nuclear power and an easing of sanctions. The President has received heavy criticism over the deal, which culminated in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, invited by Speaker John Boehner without the President’s approval, addressing Congress concerning the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran.
“We’re involved here. We have to be involved here, ” Maryland senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland told the New York Times. “Only Congress can change or permanently modify the sanctions regime.” When an agreement is made, Congress will have 30 days to review it and will be able to help determine what should be done if Iran violates the agreement. However, an outright rejection of any proposal will be relatively easy for President Obama to veto, with only 34 senators needed to sustain the veto.
At first, President Obama was unhappy with the bill, but eventually agreed to revisions to it made by top ranking Democrat and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.