White House, Senate Dems Aim to Weaken Iran Bill

Facing Close Vote, Obama Hopes to Ensure Bill Won't Derail Talks

The Corker-Menendez bill is expected to be up for a vote in relatively short order, if Republican senators are to be believed, and that could have a profound impact on the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations.

The bill aims to empower Congress to be able to veto any diplomatic deal reached with Iran on the nuclear program. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would effectively hamstring US negotiators, and Congressional hawks have threatened to override that veto.

The override vote threatens to be extremely close either way right now, and President Obama is working with Senate Democrats to try to water down the bill a little bit, eliminating some of its most onerous restrictions on a deal.

This might ironically make it easier to get enough votes to override the administration veto, but it would also mean the bill would be easier to live with, and harder for the Senate leadership to use to derail the talks outright.

The bill’s top supporters have recently argued it was never meant to derail the talks, despite its presentation at the time it was authored as explicitly toward blocking any nuclear deal, and the Israel Lobby’s intense backing for the bill on hopes that it would kill any hope for a pact, by leaving US negotiators unable to make credible promises without a Congressional imprimatur.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.