March 05, 2015

Corker Seeks Veto-Proof Majority for Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – With bipartisan momentum building in the Senate behind legislation to require congressional review of a nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the effort to seek support from a supermajority of 67 senators to override a presidential veto of the bill, which the White House threatened last week. 

“The strongest signal we can send to the U.S. negotiators is having a veto-proof majority in support of Congress weighing in on any final nuclear deal with Iran,” said Sen. Corker. “This week, our bipartisan legislation gained momentum with four additional Democrats offering their support for the bill. I greatly appreciate the Majority Leader's commitment to getting the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act across the finish line by allowing the vote to occur at a time when we will more likely generate a veto-proof majority.”

In a letter yesterday, nine Democrats and one Independent pledged to support the Corker-Menendez bill after March 24. The legislation would then need only three additional Democratic votes for a veto-proof majority, assuming the backing of all 54 Republicans.

Last Friday, Senator Corker and Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The legislation mandates the president submit the text of any agreement to Congress and prohibits the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days. During that period, Congress would have the opportunity to hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Angus King (I-Maine), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 contains the following key provisions:

  • Congressional Review: Within five days of concluding a comprehensive agreement with Iran, the president must submit to Congress (1) the text of the agreement, (2) a verification assessment on Iranian compliance, and (3) a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives and does not jeopardize U.S. national security, including not allowing Iran to pursue nuclear-related military activities.
  • No Suspension of Congressional Sanctions for 60 Days: The president is prohibited from suspending, waiving or otherwise reducing congressional sanctions for 60 days. During this period, Congress may hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. Passage of a joint resolution of approval, or no action, within the 60-day period would allow the President to move forward with congressional sanctions relief. Passage of a joint resolution of disapproval (overriding a presidential veto) within the 60-day period would block the president from implementing congressional sanctions relief under the agreement.
  • Congressional Oversight and Iranian Compliance: After the congressional review period, the president would be required to assess Iran’s compliance with the agreement every 90 days. In the event the president cannot certify compliance, or if the president determines there has been a material breach of the agreement, Congress could vote, on an expedited basis, to restore sanctions that had been waived or suspended under the agreement.

Full text of the bill is available here.