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Tue 17 Mar 2015 01:02 PM

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US Senate panel could vote on Iran nuclear bill next week

Bill would require President Barack Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran to Congress for approval

US Senate panel could vote on Iran nuclear bill next week
Republican Senator Bob Corker. (Getty Images)

The US Senate
Foreign Relations Committee could vote as soon as next week on a bill requiring
President Barack Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran for Congress'
approval, the panel's chairman, Republican Senator Bob Corker, said on Monday.

Obama has
threatened to veto the bill, saying it impinged on presidential authority and
could disrupt the talks.

Corker told
reporters at the US Senate that he planned to move ahead with the legislation
in the committee next week.

Aides to Corker
and the committee's top Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez, said the panel had
not yet settled on a specific date to debate and vote on the bill. Menendez
must also agree on a date for the panel to consider the legislation.

The Foreign
Relations panel must approve the bill before it can be considered by the full
Senate. The full-Senate vote is unlikely to take place before mid-April because
next week is the last opportunity before lawmakers leave Washington for a
two-week recess.

The measure
would also have to be approved by the House of Representatives to be sent to
the White House for Obama's signature or veto. It would need the support of
two-thirds of both the Senate and House to overcome a veto.

The Senate's
Republican leaders moved to bypass the committee and submit the vote to the
full Senate earlier this month. But they agreed to postpone any action after
many Democrats, including some of the bill's co-sponsors, objected to voting
before the late-March deadline that international negotiators set for reaching a
framework nuclear deal.

US Secretary of
State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held nearly
five hours of talks on Monday in the Swiss city of Lausanne, inching closer to
a possible agreement.

The legislation
would require Obama to submit a final nuclear agreement to Congress and
restrict his authority to waive sanctions for 60 days so lawmakers have time to
weigh in.