After previously threatening to veto any Senate bill attempting to assert oversight on the Iran nuclear negotiations, the Obama administration indicated they would acquiesce to the bipartisan bill advanced by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.):
Corker, an affable former Chattanooga mayor and owner of successful real estate companies, showed his dexterity throughout the course of the talks. Last summer, only Republicans were backing the bill, but Corker set out to build a veto-proof majority.
Corker changed the structure of the bill from allowing Congress to reject a deal with Iran to allowing lawmakers to reject the lifting of legislative sanctions, which will be key to any final deal with Tehran. That change brought aboard a number of Democrats like Tim Kaine of Virginia, who were persuaded by Corker’s constitutional argument, and in February they introduced a newly revised bipartisan version.
But that wasn’t enough. The president still threatened to veto the plan, and many undecided Democrats demanded additional changes, including Cardin, a 71-year-old former House member. Cardin and Corker spoke frequently over the past 10 days, each playing middleman for the respective caucuses.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) replaced Menendez on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and played a key role in garnering support for the measure with the Democratic Caucus as well as negotiating with the White House to reach a compromise all sides could by happy with:
[Politico] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy NPR]
The bipartisan bill is likely to move quickly to the full Senate after the Foreign Relations Committee voted 19 to 0 to approve the measure. It would give Congress at least 30 days to consider an agreement after it was signed, before Obama could waive or suspend any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran.
During that period, lawmakers could vote their disapproval of the agreement. Any such resolution would have to clear a relatively high bar to become law, requiring 60 votes to pass and 67, or two-thirds of the Senate, to override a presidential veto.