This bill was originally the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act. On May 7, 2015, the Senate replaced the text of the bill in whole with new text regarding congressional approval of a nuclear energy deal with Iran.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 23, 2015.
(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on May 7, 2015. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015
(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to direct the President, within five days after reaching an agreement with Iran regarding Iran's nuclear program, to transmit to Congress:
the text of the agreement and all related materials and annexes; a related verification assessment report of the Secretary of State; a certification that the agreement includes the appropriate terms, conditions, and duration of the agreement's requirements concerning Iran's nuclear activities, and provisions describing any sanctions to be waived, suspended, or otherwise reduced by the United States and any other nation or entity, including the United Nations; and a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives, does not jeopardize the common defense and security, provides a framework to ensure that Iran's nuclear activities will not constitute an unreasonable defense and security risk, and ensures that Iran's permitted nuclear activities will not be used to further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose, including any related research. The Secretary is directed to prepare a report assessing:
the Secretary's capacity to verify Iran's compliance with the agreement, the adequacy of the agreement's safeguards to ensure that Iran's permitted activities will not be used to further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose, including research; and the International Atomic Energy Agency's capacity to implement the required verification regime. In preparing a report the Secretary shall assume that Iran could:
use all measures not expressly prohibited by the agreement to conceal activities that violate its obligations under the agreement; and alter or deviate from standard practices in order to impede verification efforts. The foreign relations committees shall hold hearings and briefings to review an agreement during the 30-day period following the President's transmittal of such agreement.
The congressional review period shall be 60 days for an agreement, including all materials required to be transmitted to Congress, that is transmitted between July 10, 2015, and September 7, 2015.
The President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran or refrain from applying sanctions pursuant to an agreement prior to and during the transmission period and during the congressional review period.
The President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with respect to Iran or refrain from applying sanctions pursuant to an agreement for:
12 days after the date of passage by both Houses of Congress of a congressional joint resolution of disapproval, and 10 days after the date of a presidential veto of a congressional joint resolution of disapproval passed by both Houses of Congress. Specified deferrals, waivers, or other suspensions of statutory sanctions are excepted from such prohibitions.
It is the sense of Congress that:
the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by Congress is primarily responsible for bringing Iran to the table to negotiate on its nuclear program; these negotiations are a critically important matter of national security and foreign policy for the United States and its closest allies; this Act does not require a vote by Congress for the agreement to commence; this Act provides for congressional review, including for approval, disapproval, or no action on statutory sanctions relief under an agreement; and even though the agreement may commence, because the sanctions regime was imposed by Congress and only Congress can permanently modify or eliminate that regime, it is critically important that Congress have the opportunity to consider and take action affecting the statutory sanctions regime. An action involving statutory sanctions relief by the United States pursuant to an agreement or the Joint Plan of Action:
may be taken if, during the review period, Congress enacts a joint resolution stating that Congress favors the agreement; may not be taken if, during the review period, Congress enacts a joint resolution stating that Congress does not favor the agreement; or may be taken if, following the review period, there is not enacted any such joint resolution. The President shall keep Congress fully and currently informed of all aspects of Iranian compliance with respect to an agreement.
The President shall:
within 10 days of receiving information relating to a potentially significant breach or compliance incident by Iran submit it to Congress; within 30 days after submitting such information determine whether it constitutes a material breach or compliance incident and report that determination to Congress as well as Iran's action or failure to act that led to the material breach, actions necessary for Iran to cure the breach, and the status of Iran's efforts to cure the breach; and at least every 180 days thereafter report to Congress on Iran's nuclear program and compliance with the agreement. The President shall keep Congress fully informed of any initiative or negotiations with Iran concerning its nuclear program, including any new or amended agreement.
The President shall, at least every 90 days, determine whether the President is able to certify that:
Iran is fully implementing the agreement, Iran has not committed a material breach of the agreement, Iran has not taken any action that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program, and suspension of sanctions against Iran is appropriate and proportionate to measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program and vital to U.S. national security interests. It is the sense of Congress that:
U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under an agreement; issues not addressed by an agreement on Iran's nuclear program, including compensation for Americans held in captivity after the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in 1979, the freedom of Americans held in Iran, the human rights abuses of the government of Iran against its own people, and the continued support of terrorism by the government of Iran, are matters critical to ensure justice and U.S. national security, and should be addressed; the President should determine the agreement in no way compromises the U.S. commitment to Israel's security, nor its support for Israel's right to exist; and in order to implement any long-term agreement reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran, it is critically important that Congress have the opportunity to review any agreement and take action to modify the statutory sanctions regime imposed by Congress. If the President does not submit such 90-day compliance certification or has determined that Iran has materially breached an agreement and not cured it legislation reinstating statutory sanctions against Iran introduced within 60 calendar days of such event shall be entitled to expedited consideration.
Sets forth provisions regarding such expedited consideration.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as:
modifying the President's authority to negotiate, enter into, or implement executive agreements, other than the restrictions on implementation of the agreements specifically covered by this Act; allowing any new waiver, suspension, reduction, or other relief from statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law, or allowing the President to refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an agreement during the period for congressional review; revoking or terminating any statutory sanctions imposed on Iran; or authorizing the use of military force against Iran.