by Jim Lobe
For those of you who are paying attention to the ongoing Senate debate over the Corker bill asserting Congress’s authority to review any final deal negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, the Council for a Livable World/Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has just put out this helpful guide to the proposed Republican amendments to the bill the vast majority of which will, if passed (by the House, as well), almost certainly provoke a veto by Obama.
Guide to the amendments to the Corker Bill
The debate on the Corker bill (S. 615/now HR 1191) continued in a desultory fashion on April 28. While many amendments have been filed, only one has been voted upon. In the first test vote yesterday, 12 Republicans voted against the Johnson (R-Wis.) amendment requiring an agreement to be considered as a treaty. The debate on April 29 will be interrupted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech to Congress in the morning.
AMENDMENTS VOTED UPON
Iran Nuclear Treaty: Johnson (R-Wis.)/ Risch (R-Idaho)/ Toomey(R-Pa.) amendment No. 1150 to considers any product of the US-Iran negotiations to be a treaty, subject to Congressional approval and ratification via a two-thirds approval from the Senate. Amendment failed 39 to 57 (60 votes required for passage), April 28, 2015.
AMENDMENTS PENDING ON THE SENATE FLOOR
Note: New amendments are at the end from No. 1177 on.
CORKER BILL AS A SUBSTITUTE TO HOUSE BILL: Corker (R-Tenn.)/Cardin (D-Md.) amendment No. 1140 as a substitute for the House bill used as a vehicle for the Senate debate.
Report on Iranian military power: Blunt (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1155 continuing the annual Pentagon reports on Iran’s military power for another decade (the House has a similar provision in its annual National Defense Authorization Bill).
Farsi: Corker (R-Tenn.)/Cardin (D-Md.) amendment No. 1179 requiring submission to Congress of any text in Farsi.
AMENDMENTS FILED BUT NOT INTRODUCED ON THE SENATE FLOOR
Release of U.S. prisoners in Iran: Risch (R-Idaho) amendments No. 1138 and 1139 barring lifting sanctions as long as Iran continues to hold four named prisoners.
Rubio (R-Fla.)/Kirk (R-Ill.) amendment No. 1134 is similar.
Blunt (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1153 is similar.
Recognition of Israel: Rubio (R-Fla.)/Kirk (R-Ill.) amendment No. 1132 requires Iran’s leaders to accept publically Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
Rubio (R-Fla.)/Kirk (R-Ill.)/ Toomey (R-Pa.) amendment No. 1141 is similar.
State-Sponsored Terrorism: Barrasso (R-Wyo.)/ Johnson (R-Wis.)/ Risch (R-Idaho)/Rubio (R-Fla.)/Gardner (R-Colo.)/ Toomey(R-Pa.)/Sullivan (R-Alaska)/Lee (R-Utah) amendment No. 1147 states the President must certify that Iran has not carried out or supported an act of terrorism against the United States or a U.S. citizen.
McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1166 is similar.
Sullivan (R-Alaska) amendment No. 1173 is similar.
Timing of Sanctions Relief: Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment no. 1148 states that no sanctions relief should be provided until Iran has completed the specific terms of an agreement.
Limits to Sanctions Relief Authority: Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment no. 1133 limits the President’s ability to provide sanctions relief during the Congressional review period
Rubio amendment No. 1144 is similar.
Include Draft UN Resolutions in definition of “agreement”: Rubio (R-Fla..) amendment no. 1135 would include draft UN resolutions under the definition of an “agreement” that Congress would have the authority to evaluate.
Rubio (R-Fla..) amendment No. 1143 is similar.
Congressional Review before the United Nations: Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment No. 1136 provides a sense that the United Nations reviewing an agreement before Congress would undermine Congress’s role in the process.
Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment No. 1142 is similar.
Specifying Sanctions Relief: Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment No. 1137 specifies that no sanctions relief will occur for sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses, or ballistic missile programs. Also, must verify that sanctions relief does not hurt the effectiveness of these sanctions left in place.
Rubio (R-Fla.) amendment No. 1146 is similar.
Congressional-Executive Agreement: Johnson (R-Wis.)/ Risch (R-Idaho) Amendment No. 1149 would treat the Iran negotiations as a Congressional-Executive agreement, increasing Congress’s role and giving authority to withhold sanctions relief unless an agreement is approved by the Senate.
Iran/North Korea Weapons Cooperation: Gardner (R-Colo.)/ Cotton (R-Ark) amendment No. 1151 requires certification that North Korea and Iran are not cooperating on ballistic missile or nuclear weapons programs.
Blunt (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1156 is similar.
Removal of Limit on Congressional Review Period: Cruz (R-Texas)/ Toomey (R-Pa.) amendment no. 1152 removes language that specifies the duration of the Congressional review period.
Fordow: Blunt (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1154 demands a statement of United States policy regarding the underground uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, Iran.
Iran’s Ballistic Missile/Space Program: Lee (R-Utah) amendment No. 1157 requires the president to certify that Iran has not made any advancements in its ballistic missile technology or space program that could violate any international agreement or pose a threat to U.S. national security.
McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1164 is similarly focused on Iran’s ballistic missile technology.
Sullivan (R-Alaska) amendment No. 1175 is similarly focused on Iran’s ballistic missile technology.
No Limitations on Reimposition of Sanctions: Lee (R-Utah) amendment No. 1158 declares that no legislation, neither an agreement with Iran nor a United Nations Security Council Resolution, may restrict Congress’s ability to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
Report on Actions by Iran that affect U.S. commitment to Israel: Inhofe (R –Okla.) amendment No. 1159 requires the President to provide a report on any actions taken by Iran that may compromise the U.S. commitment to the security of Israel within seven days.
No Nuclear Weapons for Iran: Sessions (R-Ala.) amendment No.1160 declares that it shall be the policy of the United States that Iran should not obtain nuclear weapons.
American Hostages in Iran Compensation Fund: Isakson(R-Ga.) amendment No. 1161 creates a compensation fund for American hostages held in Iran.
Isakson (R-Ga.) amendment No. 1176 is similar.
Commission to Assess the Nuclear Activities of Iran: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1162 establishes a commission to evaluate the nuclear activities of Iran. No sanctions relief may be provided until the commission produces its report.
Committees Tasked with Reviewing the Iran Deal: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1163 specifies which congressional committees will be holding hearings of the Iran agreement and what the topics of those hearings should be.
Sullivan (R-Alaska) amendment No. 1174 is similar.
Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1165 limits the ability to provide sanctions relief until the President certifies that Iran has fully disclosed all possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Anytime Access to Iran’s Military Facilities: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1167 restricts the ability to provide sanctions relief until the President certifies that several verification measures have been agreed to by Iran. This includes anytime access to Iran’s military facilities, which has not been agreed to in negotiations.
Restricts Air Defense at Fordow Facility: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1168 restricts the ability to provide sanctions relief until the President certifies that Iran has not acquired or deployed air defenses at the Fordow facility.
Closing of Underground Facilities: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1168 restricts the ability to provide sanctions relief until the President certifies that Iran has closed or rendered inoperable all of its hardened underground facilities associated with its nuclear program.
Expedited Resolution of disapproval: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1170 creates an expedited process for a Joint Resolution of Disapproval, lowering the required votes from 60 to 50 for passage. (Still requires Approval resolution to meet 60 vote threshold)
Lowering the Threshold for Breaches in Compliance: McConnell (R–Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment No. 1171 lowers the threshold for what is considered a breach in compliance by eliminating the phrase “significant.”
McConnell (R – Ky.) for Cotton (R-Ark.) amendment no. 1172 is similar
Hatch (R-Utah) amendment No. 1193 is similar.
Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital of Israel: Heller (R-Nev.)/ Cruz (R-Texas)/ Rubio (R-Fla.)/ Cotton (R-Ark.)/ Inhofe (R-Okla.)/ Kirk (R-Ill.) amendment No. 1177 requires the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Impact on Israel: Inhofe (R-Okla.) amendment No. 1178 requiring a report on Iranian actions that could affect Israel.
Report on military bases: Thune (R-S.D.) amendment No. 1180 requires a report from the Secretary of State that describes how IAEA will be able to investigate military bases, in addition to suspicious sites already included in the bill.
Extending time for congressional review: Barrasso (R-Wyo.) amendment No. 1181 extends the review period for Congress of any agreement to 60 days when Congress is in session, during which time the President cannot waive sanctions.
Russian arms sales to Iran: Roberts (R-Kan.) amendment No. 1182 requiring an assessment of Russian sales of arms to Iran.
Roberts (R-Kan.) amendment No. 1183 is similar.
Iranian nuclear weapons: Daines (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1184 requires Iran to cease the development of a nuclear warhead and delivery systems that could be used for a nuclear attack.
Daines (R-Mo.) amendment No. 1185 is similar.
IAEA inspections: Vitter (R-La.) amendment No. 1186 requires a report on the inadequacies of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s international monitoring and verification system.
Joint fact sheet: Vitter (R-La.) amendment No. 1187 requires fact sheet signed by the U.S. and Iranian presidents providing a “clear interpretation” of the agreement.
Iranian air defense systems: Vitter (R-La.) amendment No. 1188 requires the President to certify that Iran has not acquired or deployed advanced integrated air defense systems. If Iran has, the U.S. should work with the U.N. to impose new sanctions.
Iranian oil exports: Murkowski (R-Alaska)/ Hoeven (R-N.D.)/ Lankford (R-Okla.) amendment No. 1189 requiring reports on Iran’s ability to export oil into the global markets.
Original text of bill: Toomey (R-Pa.)/ Warner (D-Va.) amendment No. 1190 dealing with the original text of the bill approved by the House.
Definition of nuclear program: Hatch (R-Utah) amendment No. 1191 provides a broad definition of what constitutes an Iranian nuclear program, including acts by Iran “to develop, design, obtain, procure, create, fabricate, manufacture, assemble, or test, in any fashion or manner, a nuclear explosive device or any component.”
Adjusting Verbage: Hatch (R-Utah) amendment No. 1192 substitutes the ambiguous phrase “enhance breakout time” with a “reduces breakout time.”
Iranian compliance problems: Hatch (R-Utah) amendment No. 1193 requires reports from the President on potential Iranian breaches or compliance incidents within 10 days of receiving the information.