Dems Roll Out Bill to ‘Strengthen’ Iran Deal
A handful of Senate Democrats are pushing legislation they say
would help strengthen the Iran nuclear deal, after Congress failed to block the
agreement earlier this month.
The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.),
includes additional assistance for Israel, requires the administration to submit
a regional strategy and allows for an expedited process for Congress to consider
sanctions for Iran's terrorism activities.
Cardin's bill is backed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Both
opposed the Iran nuclear deal.
It is also supported by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory
Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mark Warner
(D-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — all of whom supported President Obama's deal.
The senators stressed their bill wouldn't undermine the
agreement, compared to Republican-backed proposals that would effectively tie
"This bill essentially looks forward to strengthen and
improve the agreement, without in any way contradicting or undermining it,"
Asked about the administration's reaction to his legislation,
Cardin said that while they have had "positive conversations," he
"cannot speak for the White House."
The Democratic senators could have an uphill climb in moving
the bill forward. While Cardin said he's spoken to his Republican colleagues,
none have signed on to the legislation. GOP support is crucial to get the votes
needed to pass the bill.
Asked about when the legislation could come up before the
Foreign Relations Committee, Cardin they were working to build broad support.
He added that he and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who chairs the
committee, understand they need to "have some discussions about this bill,
but there's no immediacy."