Senate legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran if Tehran refused to dismantle its atomic program at the end of negotiations inched today toward a “near-filibuster-proof majority,” with Foreign Policy outlining that 58 Senators now support the proposed bill.
Democrats supporting it include liberals such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Since its introduction last month, support for the bill has more than doubled from 26 cosponsors to 53 as of this week. “Every day this week, the legislation has added additional cosponsors,” said a Senate aide.
Meanwhile William Daroff, the Senior Vice President for Public Policy at The Jewish Federations of North America, revealed information from a “very reliable source” counting 34 Democratic Senators in support of the push.
Just heard from VERY reliable source: Menendez-Kirk #Iran sanctions bill has support of 34 Democratic Senators (62% of Senate Dems)
— William Daroff (@Daroff) January 9, 2014
Provided that Iran does not cheat on its obligations while negotiations are ongoing, the legislation would put off any new measures until the end of talks and give the President the flexibility to delay those measures as talks are extended. The White House has nonetheless threatened to veto the bill, and has heavily pressured Senators to oppose it. Foreign Policy unpacked the White House’s current legislative strategy, which now involves heavily pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not to permit a vote on the potential law. A Senate staffer who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon estimated that Reid would be forced to buck White House pressure if the bill gets “60 cosponsors and more than 67 votes on the whip count.” The Obama administration insists that the legislation would derail talks with Iran, but supporters counter that it merely codifies the White House’s own repeated promise to ratchet sanctions up if negotiations fail. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, for instance, insisted to 60 Minutes last month that “we will ensure that the pressure is reimposed” if Tehran is caught violating agreements to first freeze its program and then put it beyond use for weaponization.
[Photo: green news / YouTube]