In what looks like a complete reversal, the proposed legislation intended to impose tough Congressional oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal has been the subject of so much compromise that rather than simply gaining enough Democrats to override President Barack Obama’s threatened veto, it has gained the support of the President himself.
The President said that so long as the legislation passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, April 13, is not the subject of further amendments, the President will not veto the bill but instead will sign it.
The vote in the Committee in favor of the bill was 19-0. The zero may represent the teeth remaining in the legislation, or it may simply mirror the rounded mouths of the president’s advisers who told him Congress would not dare insert themselves into his foreign policy prerogatives.
At this point some of the details of the compromise legislation have been revealed: the original Corker-Menendez Congressional review period was 60 days after the negotiators concluded their deal, the amended bill which was approved Tuesday afternoon provides for 52 days of Congressional review.
The way it works, according to Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, is this: once the President’s team of negotiators (and their counterparts from the other P5+1 countries) arrive at a deal, Congress then has 30 days to review the details. “If Congress acts to block the deal,” it is expected that the President will veto the blocking legislation, and then Congress will have the additional 22 days to assemble a large enough group of lawmakers to override the veto. They will need 67 senators to join on to a veto override.
A change the White House wanted which was removed from the proposed legislation was requiring the President to certify that Iran was not supporting or itself engaging in terrorism against Americans or the United States.
Two things that Israel supporters wanted that they did not get was, first, language in the bill that would require the Islamic Republic of Iran to recognize Israel as a fellow nation, and two, have the deal between the U.S. and Iran be treated as if it were a treaty rather than an executive agreement. Had that been the case, it would have had to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
The next stage is for the House of Representatives to consider the Corker-Menendez bill.