In November, the White House along with Great Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany, negotiated a deal with Iran that reduces sanctions against the country for six months, under the pretense that Iran puts the brakes on its nuclear weapons program.
The White House is expected to negotiate a tougher and longer-term deal in the upcoming months, but many on Capitol Hill are concerned Iran may not be a transparent negotiating partner. Now, in the House of Representatives, a rare act of bipartisanship may be underway.
According to a report from the Washington Post Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., handed off a draft bill of what Congress would like to see included in an Iran nuclear deal to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The hope is that the No. 2 Democrat in the House might sign on. The terms of any legislation or resolution could affect the White House's ability to negotiate in the future with Iran. However, the details of the bill are still in flux.
Hoyer's office says it's wading carefully into the negotiations.
"Mr. Cantor has a resolution, it's being reviewed and absolutely no decisions have been made. It's preposterous to think that Mr. Hoyer would sign onto any resolution he believes would undermine the White House or negotiations," says Stephanie Young, a spokeswoman for Hoyer.
Bipartisan action on Iran could further strain relations between the White House and Congress as the Obama administration seeks to come to a long-term agreement with Iran to thwart its nuclear weapons program.
National Journal reported Tuesday that during a GOP caucus meeting, Cantor told members he thought Congress should determine an acceptable deal with Iran.
"I for one am really upset with that interim deal," National Journal reported. "We can go ahead and criticize it, but … we should be focused on what that final deal looks like."
Across the Hill, Senate Democrats and Republicans are also working on a bill to threaten Iran with tougher sanctions if they don't hold up its end of the bargain, despite requests from the White House that the senators relent.
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and ranking member Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said they too will work on their own bill when they return to the Capitol next week. Three Democratic senators have requested National Intelligence Director James Clapper meet with them in the very near future to discuss whether or not an onslaught of new sanctions would imperil Secretary of State John Kerry's discussions with Iran.
The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Iran with Obama administration officials Thursday.