May 22, 2015

Corker’s Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Becomes Law

Allows Congress to Approve or Disapprove of Any Final Deal before the President Can Suspend Congressional Sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the president signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law. The bill, which passed the Senate 98 to 1 and the House of Representatives 400 to 25, requires congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the president can waive sanctions imposed by Congress.

“After more than a year of bipartisan work and a veto threat from the White House, I am pleased to see this bill become law so that any final nuclear agreement with Iran will have to go through Congress where the American people will have a say and lawmakers will have a vote,” said Corker. “I appreciate the strong bipartisan support for this effort that demonstrates Congress’s determination to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. With the role of Congress now guaranteed, the administration must address the many significant concerns raised by Congress, and our negotiators should take advantage of the added leverage to force further concessions from the Iranians so that any agreement reached is verifiable, enforceable and can assure the American people Iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon.”

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 and all related materials, (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 During Review Period: The president is prohibited from suspending, waiving or otherwise reducing congressional sanctions for up to 52 days after submitting the agreement to Congress. Following an initial review period of 30 days, the legislation includes an additional 12 days if Congress passes a bill and sends it to the president. If the president vetoes the legislation, Congress would have an additional 10 days to override a veto. If the deal is submitted between July 10 and September 7, the review period increases to up to 82 days (60 days plus 12 days for the president to veto and 10 more days for Congress to override a veto). During this period, Congress may hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on the agreement. Passage of a joint resolution of disapproval (over a presidential veto) within the review period would permanently prevent the president from waiving or suspending the congressional sanctions.

Congressional Oversight and Iranian Compliance: After the congressional review period, the president would be required to provide an assessment to Congress every 90 days on Iran’s compliance with the agreement. 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. It also requires the president to make a series of detailed reports to Congress on a range of issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, its ballistic missiles work, and its support for terrorism globally, particularly against Americans and our allies. With this information, Congress will be able to determine the appropriate response in the event of Iran sponsoring an act of terrorism against Americans.

For full text of the bill, click here. A one-page bill summary is available here, and a section-by-section summary is posted here

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