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Senate panel to vote on Iran bill

(The Hill)…The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on a bill allowing Congress to weigh in on any Iran deal in mid-April — weeks after a deadline U.S. negotiators face for reaching an agreement with Tehran.

Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Thursday that the committee will vote on their legislation on April 14.

The legislation would require President Obama to submit any deal on Iran’s nuclear program to Congress for review. The president also wouldn’t be able to lift sanctions against Iran for roughly two months while Congress debated the bill.

“We have been working together very closely to ensure we have the strongest vote possible on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and to achieve that result, we have agreed to a markup of the bill in the Foreign Relations Committee as soon as we return on Tuesday, April 14,” the senators said in a statement.

Corker had pressed for a vote before the March 31 deadline negotiators face for reaching a framework for a comprehensive deal that would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran agreeing to give up any pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But Menendez and other Democrats who back the legislation backed the administration in delaying the vote.

Thursday’s announcement is a quick shift from Tuesday, when Corker told reporters that the committee would likely markup the bill on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

Corker suggested earlier this week that he was optimistic that the committee markup would be successful.

“I hope we’re going to have a successful markup next week,” he told reporters.

The White House has urged lawmakers not to pass legislation before June 30, the deadline for finalizing a deal. It has also threatened to veto the Corker-Menendez bill.

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