Obama Backs Off Opposition To Corker-Menendez Bill, But Still Remains In Control

Consensus in Washington? You don’t say.

On Tuesday, President Obama announced that he would agree to sign the Corker-Menendez bill after it received unanimous favor in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

To date, this has to be the largest assertion of bipartisan Congressional control against President Obama that has any promise of impacting the course of legislation.

Indeed, the announcement came as a surprise to most. The President and key national security advisors have been relentlessly lobbying Congress to accept the framework for the Iran nuclear deal. Just this weekend Obama was continuing to threaten to veto the legislation and on Monday he personally met with a number of Jewish community leaders to plead his case and emphasize his unwavering support for Israel.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 14: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (L) (R-TN) shakes hands with ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin (R) (D-MD) during a committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran April 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. A bipartisan compromise reached by Corker and Cardin would create a review period that is shorter than originally proposed for a final nuclear deal with Iran and creates compromise language on the removal of sanctions contingent on Iran ceasing support for terrorism. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

So why did Obama cave? Quite simply, it turned out that there was too much Democratic support for the legislation. But that doesn’t mean the President got such a bad deal out of it.

It certainly looks like this is a victory for Congress in the short run. However, in actual fact, the Corker-Menendez bill is a longer-term win for the President.

Obama was able to get the period of Congressional review down to 30 days from the 60 days that were originally proposed. As long as the administration submits the deal to Congress by July 9th, Congress will have 30 days to review and vote to approve or disapprove the deal. If Obama misses the July 9th deadline, Congress will get a full 60 days to review the deal, a prospect that the administration certainly wants to avoid.

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