New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez Pulls pro-Israel Legislation Due to Iran Amendment

Including potential Iran deal in U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act would pit Democrats who support White House diplomacy on Iran against those critical of it.

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Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democratic Senator, is among the 83 senators urging a touch stance on Iran.Credit: AP

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez has called off a vote on a major pro-Israel bill, since it would have pitted Democrats who support the White House's stance on diplomacy with Iran against members of the pro-Israel community who , Foreign Policy's The Cable reported Tuesday.

The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act calls for broadening cooperation between the two countries on various fronts, including military and energy, and largely enjoys bipartisan support. However, Menendez pulled it after it became clear that Republican Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee) planned to introduce an amendment on the Obama administration's ongoing talks with Iran.

"Should President Obama reach a deal with Iran and five other world powers to restrain the country's nuclear program, the Corker measure would have forced the president to submit the full plan to Congress within three days. The amendment would then give Congress the right to hold a "vote of disapproval" on the final deal and make way for hearings on the matter. Notably, the legislation would not give Congress the power to block the deal, only to express its will on the issue" the Foreign Policy report explains.

AIPAC came out in support of Corker's amendment since it "underscores the key role that Congress must play in defining the terms of an acceptable deal and its implementation," the report quoted an AIPAC official as saying.

However, critics of Corker say legislation on Iran should not be included in a bill on Israeli-U.S. cooperation.