WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday he does not expect the full Senate to vote on the Iran nuclear deal before September, after Congress returns from its August recess.
Corker told Reuters in a telephone interview that it was too early to decide how Congress would react to the nuclear deal but said there is “bipartisan concern” about the agreement reached in Vienna on Tuesday.
“My guess is we won’t actually take a vote on this until after Labor Day,” Corker said, referring to the U.S. holiday that falls on Sept. 7 this year.
Under a law written by Corker that President Barack Obama signed in May, Congress has the right to review the agreement. It can consider a resolution of disapproval, which could kill a deal by limiting Obama’s ability to waive sanctions, or vote on a non-binding resolution of approval.
Corker said he planned additional hearings and briefings in the coming weeks to go over the agreement in detail but that there was skepticism among both Republicans and Democrats.
“Right now, there’s certainly bipartisan concern. I think there’s bipartisan skepticism,” Corker said.
He said his greatest concern was that the agreement would allow Iran to continue a nuclear program. “We actually embrace Iran’s industrialization of their nuclear program,” he said.
He said he had not spoken to Obama directly about the Iran issue for some time but that he spoke to Secretary of State John Kerry recently. He said White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had called him on Tuesday morning to tell him about the agreement.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Will Dunham and Bill Trott