Bill 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 House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed his bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The bill, which will now be sent to the president to be signed into law, requires congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the president can waive or suspend sanctions imposed by Congress. Last week, the Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 98 to 1.
“In a show of bipartisanship that is often too rare today in Washington, Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate now have sent a strong message that the American people – through their elected representatives – must have a voice on any final nuclear deal with Iran,” said Corker. “With this bill now headed to the president’s desk, Congress will be able to review and vote on any agreement with Iran before the president could provide relief from congressional sanctions.
“Only a strong agreement that is verifiable and enforceable can truly hold Iran accountable and halt their nuclear ambitions,” added Corker. “As the major world powers work toward a final agreement, it is important our negotiators remain clear-eyed. Enacting this bill into law will send a clear signal to Iran that Congress will play a role, which can give our negotiators an even stronger hand at the table and slow the administration from rushing headlong into a bad deal."
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.