The Senate voted 98-1 Thursday to limit President Barack Obama’s ability to make a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program.
The lone opponent was Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill into law, which President Obama will sign after having originally threatened to veto any bill that gives the Congress the right to review a final deal with Iran.
The bill, unless it is amended, gives Congress 30 days to review the deal, a change from the original 60-day review period that was proposed until Democrats forced a compromise that also blocked amendments that would make a deal with Iran impossible. One of the most explosive proposed amendments called for Iran to recognize Israel as a condition to an agreement on limiting and supervising its nuclear development.
Most significantly, the bill prevents Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran until the end of the 30-day review period, assuming Congress does not scotch the deal. President Obama would have the power to veto a Congressional rejection.
Iran has not yet reacted to the passage of the bill in the Senate. It has been adamant in demanding that all sanctions be lifted immediately when a deal is signed, which won’t happen once President Obama signs the bill into law.
“This bill as drafted will provide some political cover to Senate Democrats to say they have voted to provide strict scrutiny and congressional approval of an Iran deal,” Texas Republican Ted Cruz said in the Senate this week.
He conceded that the bill won’t stop a deal, “no matter how terrible it is,” but the political fallout from a Congressional rejection and a presidential veto would be explosive, especially when taking into account that the campaigns for presidential nominees are underway.