April 13, 2015 | Quote

Sen. Menendez to Pivot From Bribery Case to Iran Bill

Embattled Sen. Robert Menendezwill have a diminished role when he returns to the Senate next week. But he probably won't speak with a diminished voice when a key committee takes up his bill on Iran.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote Tuesday on legislation Menendez co-authored that would give Congress the option of rejecting any nuclear deal that might be reached with Iran.

President Obama has threatened to veto the measure.

The New Jersey Democrat, known for bucking the Obama administration on Iran and other issues, has lost some influence over the steering bill through committee after temporarily stepping down from his post as the panel's top Democrat to battle federal bribery charges, said Ilan Goldenberg, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

But Menendez will remain a member of the committee and is expected to be as vocal as ever in pushing for passage of his bill.


The son of Cuban immigrants, Menendez “despises” authoritarian regimes and believes the U.S. is giving too much ground to the Iranians, said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The success of the previous sanctions Menendez pushed gives him “significant moral authority on this issue as well as a deep substantive knowledge base that still provides him with significant legitimacy and influence with his colleagues,” said Dubowitz, who supports the congressional review bill.

The bill wouldn't hurt negotiations, Dubowitz said, because it would establish “a group of bad cops” in Congress that “U.S. negotiators can use as leverage to counter (Iran's) supreme leader and his red lines.”


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