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New Senate Republican Majority Wants Say in Iran Nuclear Deal

Any nuclear deal with Iran needs to be approved by the Senate, Corker said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Any nuclear deal with Iran needs to be approved by the Senate, Corker said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are gearing up to try to force President Barack Obama to give Congress veto power over an agreement about nuclear weapons with Iran.  

The expected chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee signaled Wednesday that getting a say in any such deal will be a priority of GOP senators when they take over next year.  

“Nov. 24 is going to be the time frame which we’ll know more clearly whether there’s going to be an extension or something has actually been reached. But I would imagine that regardless … there will be a desire very quickly after the first of the year for Congress to weigh in on the topic in some form or fashion,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters. “Whether it’s ensuring, you know, that Congress has a vote in final outcome or some other way, my sense is that there’ll be a move pretty quickly to speak to that legislatively.”  

Corker said that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., planned to seek consent Thursday to call up a bill designed to require Congress to vote to approve any agreement that comes out of the nuclear talks with the Iranians.  

“Obviously, I don’t think that Sen. Reid will allow that to come to a vote, but my sense is Congress will want to weigh in quickly on the Iran deal regardless of what takes place on Nov. 24,” Corker said.  

Graham told reporters in South Carolina earlier in the day that he could use the appropriations process to block funding for a deal that doesn’t meet wanted requirements, the Greenville News reported . Graham’s in line to take the gavel of the subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee that funds the State Department.  

“From my point of view, no deal Barack Obama makes with the Iranians should be binding unless Congress approves,” Graham said.  

Graham’s frequent colleague on foreign policy matters, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,warned KFYI radio listeners last month of the possibility the White House would cut a deal with Iran “that would be dangerous to the future of Israel and the whole Middle East.”  

Corker was speaking to reporters after a lengthy Foreign Relations panel briefing related to another security threat: the terror group known as ISIS. On that front, he said there had been no proposal for a new authorization for use of force, but he empathized the importance, in his view, of also going after the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  

“My sense is an Assad component would need additional authorization,” Corker said, indicating he did not think the existing force resolutions from the George W. Bush administration would apply. “It’s my hope there would be an Assad component.”  

“You’re going to train at some point … 5,000 folks, and at the same time you’re allowing Assad to absolutely bomb the living daylights out of the moderate folks that you’re training,” Corker said. “It doesn’t make any sense not to have an Assad component.”  

“Based on what they’re doing right now, I think the administration feels certain that they have the authorization they need,” he said.  

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

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