Senate bill to bolster Iranian sanctions gains support; also, loses it
posted at 7:21 pm on January 7, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
The bipartisan group of senators gunning to enact a new, pending set of economic sanctions on Iran that will go into effect if/when they renege on the so-called deal worked out in Geneva in November didn’t get to bring their bill to a vote before the Christmas break, but Harry Reid has promised that they will be able to do so and they are still working on drumming up support for the sanctions measure despite the White House’s fervent requests that they stand down. Now that everyone’s back in town, the group expects more senators to continue explicitly adding their names to the all-in-favor list, via Reuters:
U.S. senators pushing a bill to slap new sanctions on Iran if it goes back on an interim deal under which it agreed to limit its nuclear program have gained support since the legislation was introduced in December, aides said on Monday. …
The “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act” had about 48 co-sponsors in the 100-member Senate on Monday, up from 26 when the bill was introduced on December 19, an Senate aide said.
“Expect that number to keep growing over next couple of days as folks who were out of town and staff get back in,” the aide said. …
“We expect several Democrats to kind of cross the picket line and come on board this week,” the aide said.
Jennifer Rubin pointed out at WaPo today that the number of senators on board is now up to 49, and pro-Israel Democrats Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) still have yet to officially sign on. The White House, however, isn’t without their own devoted cadre of lobby-ready supporters on the Hill, and that group can now count among its ranks… Florida Democrat (and apparent no-questions-asked, White-House talking-points automaton) Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Adam Kredo at the Free Beacon reports:
Wasserman Schultz has broken with leading pro-Israel Democrats like New York Senator Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, privately urging her fellow Democrats to follow the White House’s lead by opposing a bipartisan House resolution backing new sanctions on Iran, according to multiple congressional sources close to the debate.
The Iran resolution fell apart in the final days of 2013 after House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) withdrew his support for it following a last minute lobbying campaign helmed by Wasserman Schultz, who sources identified as the “key Democrat” leading the anti-sanctions charge. …
“Debbie has been busy at home telling her constituents she is doing all she can to stop Iran, but in reality it appears she is busy behind the scenes working to scuttle bipartisan action to put increased sanctions pressure on Iran,” said one Democrat on Capitol Hill who is closely tracking the Iran debate. …
“She’s being very careful not to say anything publicly while working hard behind the scenes to jam up the legislation,” said a D.C. Jewish community insider involved in the political debate over sanctions.
The Iranian sanctions bill does put pro-Israel Democrats in a tough spot at odds with the White House‘s wishes… but I think we can safely conclude where DWS’s primary loyalties lie.