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Anti-Iran bill losing support among Senate Democrats

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (L) speaks while flanked by ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A controversial measure requiring the White House to submit any nuclear deal with Iran to Congress is losing support among Senate Democrats.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee to postpone a vote on the legislation next week, minutes after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her opposition to the bill.

The legislation, drafted by committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), would temporarily bar President Barack Obama from removing economic sanctions against Iran while Congress reviews a nuclear agreement with Tehran.

“To force Congress to weigh in now on the Iran nuclear talks before a final deal has been completed would be a reckless rush to judgment," Boxer wrote in a letter Wednesday to Corker. "It would undermine negotiations at a critical moment and could derail a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (AFP Photo)


Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

The White House and liberal Democrats have launched a vigorous campaign to convince Senate Democrats to oppose the measure which they believe would kill a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries—the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.

A framework agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group in Switzerland on April 2. (AFP Photo)


The bill appeared close to a veto-proof majority on Monday, but now several Democratic cosponsors are seeking amendments, especially to provisions that are opposed by the White House.

“The big question is what will Corker do,” one Democratic aide told the Hill. “If Democrats agree on amendments and Corker won’t go with them, it could be problematic in terms of getting broader Democratic support in committee.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, wants to change the legislation so that Obama could waive sanctions without having to wait for Congress to review and approve a final nuclear deal.

A number of other Senate Democrats, including Sens. Michael Bennet and Bill Nelson, have indicated that they are “open to changes.”

President Obama called Sen. Corker on Wednesday to sell him on the nuclear understanding reached last week in Switzerland.

The White House wants Congress to postpone any vote on the Iran legislation until at least June 30, the deadline for Iran and the P5+1 to reach a final nuclear accord.


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