Senate Democrats give Obama a deadline on Iran
Ten Senate Democrats have sent a letter to President Hussein Obama threatening to vote for time-triggered sanctions
if Iran does not agree to a framework by March 24.
"In acknowledgement of your concern regarding congressional action on
legislation at this moment, we will not vote for this legislation on
the Senate floor before March 24," said the letter, led by Sen. Robert
Menendez (D-N.J.), who is the co-author of Iran sanctions legislation.
March 24, we will only vote for this legislation on the Senate floor if
Iran fails to reach agreement on a political framework that addresses
all parameters of a comprehensive agreement," they wrote.
letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Richard
Blumenthal (Conn.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Ben Cardin
(Md.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.),
and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).
The White House had been pressuring
Democrats to hold back on the sanctions bill, warning it could blow up
the negotiations and empower hard-liners in Iran who want to walk away
from the table.
With Democrats now pledging to hold their fire
until March, it could set the stage for a last-ditch push to try and
reach the outlines of a deal.
It is doubtful that any sanctions deal could be passed before then anyway.
All but two of the signatories — Peters and Stabenow — were co-sponsors
of a previous version of the sanctions bill. But two Democrats who had
previously sponsored an Iran bill — Sens. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) and
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — did not sign the letter to Obama.
letter describes the signatories as "supporters" for a new Iran
sanctions bill, which could bring the bill closer to a veto-proof
majority. If Republicans were united, they would need at least 13
Democrats in order to override a presidential veto.
Democratic supporters of the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2015 — a
bill that would impose sanctions on Iran only if Iran fails to reach a
comprehensive agreement by the June 30 deadline," the letter said.
While the Democrats pledged not to vote for the bill on the Senate floor, it says nothing about a Senate Banking Committee vote on Thursday, when some of the Democrats are expected to vote for advancing the bill.
An aide to Menendez said he still plans to co-sponsor and vote for the bill this Thursday.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Charles Schumer, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, Mark Kirk, Robert Menendez