The U.S. Senate has voted in favour of passing a bill which would allow Congress to review and potentially reject and international agreement with Iran regarding nuclear weapons.
The vote passed with an overwhelming majority and has now been sent on the House of Representatives for them to consider the contents of the bill there.
According to a report by Reuters, the White House said President Barack Obama would sign it into law if it also passes the House, as expected, without significant changes.
“I look forward to House passage of this bill to hold President Obama’s administration accountable,” John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, said in a statement supporting the bill shortly after the Senate vote.
Within the bill it states that Congress is allowed to have 30 days to review a final nuclear deal after international negotiators reach such an agreement. The bill also includes the stipulation that during that time President Obama will be barred from temporarily waiving any U.S. sanctions on Iran that were passed by Congress.
The complicated details of the bill essential means that if the Senate and House pass a resolution of disapproval of the deal, it would prevent Obama from offering any waiver of congressional sanctions, the overwhelming majority of U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to Reuters.
But this is far from the end to the battles and many more relating to nuclear deals are expected in the future.
“Make no mistake, that will not be the end of the story,” Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech urging the bill’s passage.
“There is bipartisan concurrence that we do not trust Iran,” said Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, a bill co-sponsor and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Reuters.
The final approval by the Senate of the bill comes after many months of debate and discussions and lays out how Congress could best have a voice in continuing negotiations between Washington, five other world powers and Iran.
According to Reuters, it was complicated by a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over a Republican invitation to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, a critic of the nuclear talks, to address Congress in March, and the April 1 indictment of one of the bill’s original co-authors, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.
Meanwhile Reuters noted that Republican Tom Cotton, angered the White House by sending a letter to Iran’s leaders in March saying a nuclear deal would last only as long as Obama is in office. He was the only senator who voted against the bill.