Sen. Ted Cruz wants House and Senate leadership to tell U.S. banks they could be criminally liable if they release money to Iran, even after President Barack Obama relieves sanctions pursuant to the international nuclear agreement.
The Texas Republican, who is running for president, contends in a new letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that they have the authority to declare the Obama administration did not provide all the relevant documents related to the Iran deal, meaning the 60-day clock for disapproval never started. That's a reference to agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran.
"Congress oftentimes has no choice but to rely on the representations of the President in determining whether he has complied with his statutory obligations. It is therefore understandable that Congress was misled into believing at the time the President made his July 19 submission to Congress that he was transmitting all the materials required by Corker-Cardin. But we now know — by sheer fortuity no less — that he did not," Cruz wrote in his new letter. "It has been publicly reported that Iran and the IAEA have entered into at least two side agreements that bear directly on the inspections regime that is at the heart of the Administration’s agreement with Iran. Yet the President has not submitted those side agreements to Congress."
Boehner and his House Republicans changed course after conservative pressure over the terms of the approval legislation that was crafted by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and ranking Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland.
"I urge you both to declare that the President has failed to submit the agreement to Congress as required by Corker-Cardin and to make clear that any sanctions relief granted under the agreement would therefore be illegal and directly contrary to federal law," Cruz wrote.
Appearing with McConnell, Corker said Wednesday the best approach, given Obama will declare the 60-day window to elapse on Sept. 17, is to move forward with disapproval. A Senate vote to limit debate on that measure is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
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