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Democrats upset with effort to fast-track Iran bill

March 4, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican effort to quickly pass legislation allowing congressional oversight on any Iran nuclear agreement is angering Democrats.

A key Democratic sponsor of the legislation, which would allow a congressional vote on any deal the United States signs with Iran to curb its nuclear program, said Tuesday night that he’s outraged that Republican leaders want to fast-track the bill.

Hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the nuclear negotiations in a speech to Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to bypass the committee process and send the bill straight to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.

“What happened to putting aside political posturing and partisanship?” asked Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Frankly, this is not what was intended and it certainly is against my better judgment, against procedure, against any understanding we might have had to take the politics out of our effort to establish congressional oversight of any nuclear agreement with Iran.

“I am more than disappointed. I’m outraged,” he said.

The bill would require President Barack Obama to submit any agreement reached with Tehran to Congress within five days. It also would give Congress 60 days to review it before any economic sanctions against Iran could be eased.

The measure was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid echoed Menendez’s comments.

“Partisan politics are cheap and ephemeral but the state of Israel must last forever,” Reid said. “For congressional leaders, building and preserving the broadest possible bipartisan coalition to stand against Israel’s enemies should be our guiding principle.”

Another Democrat, Sen. Tim Kaine, said: “Congress should weigh in on any Iranian nuclear deal that impacts the statutory sanctions we’ve enacted. But we need to demonstrate that our review will be thoughtful and deliberate rather than rushed and partisan.”

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