Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided on Thursday to postpone a decision on a bill that would prevent President Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran until lawmakers review a nuclear deal.
According to Bloomberg Views, the bill would require the president to submit any agreement to Congress, which would then have 60 days to approve or disapprove it. During this time, no sanctions against Iran could be waived. If Congress votes down the agreement, the president would not be allowed to waive any Iran sanctions. If Congress decides not to vote or approves the deal, the president would have to report on Iran's compliance to Congress every 90 days. McConnell has pushed for senators to act now as “time is running out,” with the deadline coming up on March 24.
“The Iranians need to know that... the congressional sanctions, will not be lifted if a bad deal is reached,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday at a joint meeting, in which he urged the U.S. not to accept an agreement with Iran that would leave that country on track to build nuclear weapons in the near future.
According to Ted Barrett and Alexandra Jaffe of CNN, “the measure is opposed by the Obama administration, which said this week it would veto it. But Democrats, mindful of the White House's objections, have already felt divided on the issue and were critical of what they saw as partisan motives in the decision by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to invited [sic] Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress arguing against the president's policy on Iran.”
"Senator McConnell made the right decision by heeding calls from Democrats and Republicans to back off his transparently political move," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid say. "Protecting Israel and the world from a nuclear-armed Iran is too important of an issue to use in partisan political games.
"As leaders we should seek to build and cultivate bipartisan support for Israel, not try to score cheap political points," he continued. "Democrats and Republicans joined together to ask Senator McConnell to reconsider his decision to rush this bill to the floor without the input of the senators who have worked so hard for months on this issue and he did the right thing by heeding their advice."
Obama does not need the approval from Congress to make a decision on this deal and the White House has threatened to veto the deal, as the Constitution gives the power of making foreign policy decisions to the executive branch.
Negotiations between Iran and world powers including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China have entered their final phase.