Senate Video: Obama Founders to Senate Bill Based on Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Steinitz, “This achievement is an achievement for Israel’s diplomacy, which was brought about by the Prime Minister’s speech in Congress in early March.”

By Gil Ronen


Israel is pleased with the compromise reached Tuesday between Congress and the White House regarding congressional review of the deal that is being worked out with Iran regarding its nuclear weapons program, said Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz Wednesday.

According to Israel Hayom, Steinitz sees Israeli diplomacy as being responsible for Obama’s “folding” in the face of congressional pressure on the matter.

“We are certainly pleased this morning,” said the minister, who is one of the people closest to Netanyahu. “This achievement is an achievement for Israel’s diplomacy, which was brought about by the Prime Minister’s speech in Congress in early March.”

“Netanyahu’s speech was very decisive and important,” he added, “in the achievement of the bill that was agreed yesterday in Congress. The bill is very important in the effort to prevent the powers from signing a very bad deal with Iran about its nuclear program. If it does not prevent a bad deal, it will at least achieve some changes for the better in any agreement that is crafted.”

Israel Hayom described the compromise as “a severe blow” to President Barack Obama.

What the bill means

The legislation will give Congress a chance to vote on whatever deal emerges with Iran, if one is reached by June 30.

Proposed by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Democrat Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senate Bill 615, the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,” requires that the administration send to Congress the text of a final accord, along with classified material, as soon as it is completed. Congress would vote to approve or forbid the lifting of congressionally imposed sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

It calls for a 30-day review period during which the president “may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law.” This period was cut in half in the bipartisan compromise, from 60 days in the original bill.

The president would then have a mazimum of 12 days to decide whether to accept or veto a resolution of disapproval, if Congress takes that route.

The review period would also include a maximum of 10 days Congress would have to override the veto. However, Obama would need only 34 senators to sustain the veto. This means that Obama could lose more than a dozen Democratic senators and still prevent the veto from being overridden.

All in all, Obama could not lift sanctions on Iran for a maximum of 52 days after submitting a final accord to Congress. The White House can still suspend, waive or remove sanctions imposed by executive order.

Under the amended version of the bill agreed in the committee, Obama would also have to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran was complying with the final agreement, and to submit detailed reports on Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missile program, and “support for terrorism.”

The agreement “almost certainly means Congress will muscle its way into nuclear negotiations that Mr. Obama sees as a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement,” wrote the New York Times.


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