Scalise: Skipping Congressional approval in negotiations with Iran threatens national security

Amid reports that the Obama administration will not seek congressional approval to suspend sanctions against Iran, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged the president to work with Congress in a statement issued Wednesday.

The New York Times first reported that the White House will move unilaterally to temporarily lift sanctions against the country if it can reach an agreement to end Iran’s threat to develop nuclear weapons.

Scalise said he was “very concerned” by the reports.

“There is significant bipartisan support from Congress to ensure that Iran will not attain a nuclear weapons capability,” he said. “I urge the president to work directly with members of Congress to ensure that any deal will have strong bipartisan support and represent the national security interests of America.”

The Times reported that the Treasury Department determined the president can suspend a majority of the economic sanctions without congressional approval, but they would be temporary. An act of Congress is necessary to permanently stop sanctions.

“The president must consult with Congress over the next few weeks, not force a deal that will be unacceptable to the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress,” Scalise said. “The president cannot grant concessions that simply delay Iran’s nuclear breakout time while circumventing Congress.

“Such a bad deal with Iran will continue to threaten our national security, the security of Israel, and further destabilize the region.”