WASHINGTON — The US Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would establish a framework for Congress to examine and potentially vote on any agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

Crafted during sensitive behind-the-scenes negotiations among senior Republican and Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders and staffers, the bill would set up a 30-day review period of any deal with Iran. It also states Congress would put off votes on any deal until after a June 30 deadline for Iran and six world powers to reach an agreement.

The measure picked up ample support from both parties, with 98 yes votes. Only firebrand conservative freshman Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., voted no.

"This is a bipartisan bill based on an important principle: that the American people, through the Congress they elect, deserve a say on one of the most important issues of our time," said Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"It would require that any agreement reached with Iran be submitted to Congress for review," McConnell said. "It would require that Congress be given time to hold hearings, and to take a vote to approve or disapprove of the agreement before congressional sanctions could be lifted."

Echoing the bill's authors and proponents, McConnell says the legislation, if also passed by the House and signed by the president, "would give Congress more power to rapidly reimpose sanctions if Iran does cheat."

McConnell was forced to shut off debate after Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a 2016 GOP presidential contender, and Cotton tried to force votes on amendments Democrats warned would end talks between Iran and six global powers.

Rubio has publicly defended the amendments, dubbed "poison pills" by Democrats, including one that would require Iran recognize Israel's right to exist.

Before votes on the bill, Rubio took to the Senate floor to say he believes the deal being negotiated by the White House would push the United States — and Israel — closer to war with Iran. He accused the Obama administration of carrying out a policy of "constant appeasement" toward Tehran.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., says he does not agree with charges that Cotton wants to scuttle both the bill and any potential deal with Tehran.

Corker, on the Senate floor Thursday, said the bill shows his committee has "taken back power that the president now has" over negotiating a nuclear deal with other countries.

Final negotiations on the legislation were largely between Corker and the committee's new top Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland. Corker also has praised the role of Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who chose to give up the panel's ranking member post after he was indicted on federal corruption charges.

"I think the American people, you and your listening audience, want Congress to be able to review any deal," Corker said TuesdayMay 5. "They don't want the president to go directly to the UN Security Council.

"They want to put a stay on his ability to lift the sanctions that we put in place through Congress, and they want Congress to decide whether they think this is a good or bad thing," he said. "So, it's a very common sense … bipartisan piece of legislation, and I think it's going to become law."

Some senators, like freshman Thom Tillis, R-N.C., went to the floor to warn against a deal that would enhance Iran's alleged support for terrorism. But he said he would vote yes so Congress could shoot down "any bad deal negotiated by this administration."

Cardin said Thursday the legislation shows "we have found the right balance" with provisions on verification of Iran's program and the ability of lawmakers to review any final deal.

During the committee's April 14 markup of the bill, Corker said the review period "clock would only start" once the White House has submitted to Congress all of the documents related to an Iran pact.

Before the committee approved the measure 19-0, a Corker aide explained the revised review period this way: "There is an initial review period of 30 days, 12 more days are automatically added if Congress passes a bill and sends it to the president, and an additional 10 days if the president vetoes the legislation. If the deal is submitted late, after July 9, the review period reverts to 60 days."

The change to a 30-day process was necessary to get the White House's support. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that day, in a surprising shift, that administration officials were concerned that "carving out such a long window … could delay over a long period of time the implementation of the agreement."

One change that brought the White House's endorsement was the stripping of a provision inserted by Menendez tying the deal, the proposed congressional review and future votes to Iran's alleged support for terrorism.

Cardin broke with the man he replaced as ranking member, saying during the markup that the terrorism provision should not be tied to a congressional review and possible vote on a deal over Iran's atomic program.

Menendez said during the session that the change would not cause him to oppose the bill, saying he would continue to target Iran's alleged sponsorship of terrorist activities "in other venues."

The White House also had objected to any legislation that proposed congressional action on sanctions lawmakers did not put in place. Corker said at the start of the mark-up his bill only addresses Congress-enacted sanctions.

The bill also would require the president to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the terms of the final agreement.

Twitter: @bennettjohnt

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