WASHINGTON (AP)- Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday the House will act after the Senate on legislation giving Congress the power to review an emerging Iran nuclear deal.
The California Republican told reporters that he spoke with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier in the day. McCarthy said he told Corker that if the Senate approves the bill, the House will vote on it.
"It's my intention to bring it to the floor of the House and move it," McCarthy said at a news conference as Congress was returning from a two-week spring break.
Republicans and Democrats maintain that Congress should have a say on an international deal with Tehran to curb its nuclear program and have lined up behind legislation. The White House has pushed back, threatening a presidential veto while warning that the bill could scuttle the delicate talks involving the United States, Iran and five world powers.
Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting with members of the House late Monday to discuss the negotiations and he scheduled another closed-door session with senators Tuesday morning. The Foreign Relations Committee plans to consider the measure, which would restrict Obama's ability to ease sanctions against Iran without congressional approval, on Tuesday afternoon.
Under the bill, Obama could unilaterally lift or ease any sanctions that were imposed on Iran through presidential executive means. But the bill would prohibit him for 60 days from suspending, waiving or otherwise easing any sanctions that Congress levied on Iran. During that 60-day period, Congress could hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on any final nuclear agreement with Iran.
If Congress passed a joint resolution approving a final deal - or took no action - Obama could move ahead to ease sanctions levied by Congress. But if Congress passed a joint resolution disapproving it, Obama would be blocked from providing Iran with any relief from congressional sanctions.
Iran says its program is for civilian purposes, but the U.S. and its partners negotiating with Tehran suspect Tehran is keen to become a nuclear-armed powerhouse in the Middle East, where it already holds much sway.
The bill has turned into a tug of war on Capitol Hill, with Republicans trying to raise the bar so high that a final deal might be impossible, and Democrats aiming to give the White House more room to negotiate with Tehran.
Senators of both parties are considering more than 50 amendments to the measure introduced by Corker and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.