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Key Dems Defy Obama with New Sanctions Bill; Veto Threat Soon Follows

But strong showing at the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act's introduction suggests a veto-proof majority can be reached as White House tries to annihilate effort.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

December 19, 2013 - 7:05 pm
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WASHINGTON — The White House has tried every manner of lobbying, pressure and procedural tactics to keep Congress from moving forward on new sanctions against Iran as nuclear talks move ahead.

It didn’t work, though press secretary Jay Carney vowed that the executive branch will try to annihilate the new bill as it moves through the legislative branch.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act was introduced today by more than a quarter of the Senate. The bipartisan legislation proposes prospective sanctions against Iran’s petroleum, engineering, mining and construction sectors should the regime violate the interim Joint Plan of Action agreed to in Geneva or should Iran fail to reach a final agreement with the P5+1.

The bill was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and was co-sponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” said Menendez. “The Iranians last week blamed the administration for enforcing sanctions; now, they criticize Congress. The burden rests with Iran to negotiate in good faith and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons program. Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.”

“The American people rightfully distrust Iran’s true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations,” Kirk said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan bill to protect the American people from Iranian deception and I urge the Majority Leader to give the American people an up or down vote.”

Blunt stressed that the bill allowed the administration time to arrive at an agreement and verify results, but the White House has adamantly maintained that sanctions legislation of any kind would irk Iran too much and drive them away from the negotiating table.

“Despite the White House’s opposition, many of my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that we must be more aggressive in stopping Iran from developing its nuclear weapons capabilities,” said Blunt, who is one of three senators to serve on both the defense authorizing and appropriations committees.

“If Iran has not made significant progress towards their determination that they will never pursue nuclear weapons at the end of the six-month interim period, this bipartisan legislation rightly calls for more robust sanctions.”

At today’s press briefing, Carney said “we’ve been in regular, very direct conversations with members of Congress on this subject, and have made very clear to them that we do not believe now is the time to pass any additional new sanctions through Congress.”

“With regards to this particular measure, we don’t think it will be enacted. We certainly don’t think it should be enacted,” Carney continued. “And the reason why it should not and does not need to be enacted is because if Iran does not comply with its obligations under the Joint Plan of Action, the preliminary agreement, or if Iran fails to reach agreement with the P5-plus-1 on the more comprehensive agreement over the course of six months, we are very confident that we can work with Congress to very quickly pass new, effective sanctions against Iran. And it is our view that it is very important to refrain from taking an action that would potentially disrupt the opportunity here for a diplomatic resolution of this challenge.”

“And so we don’t want to see actions that would proactively undermine American diplomacy, which is what we fear that actions like passing new sanctions — no matter how they’re structured — would be received, both by our international partners and obviously by Iran.”

Carney promised that “if it were enacted, the president would veto it.”

“The fact of the matter is this is not a debate about being for or against sanctions,” he said. “There is no president in the history of this conflict with Iran who has been more aggressive in pursuing and enacting and building international consensus around sanctions than Barack Obama.”

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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Key Democrats defy Obama on Iran sanctions? Really? These nattering nabobs of narcissistic negativism will never go against their God King.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
sure hope that congress doesn't cave and think that this affirmative action, unpatriotic, irresponsible, chicago thug failure, knows better than they do.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sen. Menendez has been a leader in pushing for Iran sanctions for many years. In fact, he publicly challenged and embarrassed the administration for its lack of enforcement during the 2012 election year, and exceptional act of political courage and integrity. All Americans who are serious about national security owe him a great deal, especially because he is liberal Democrat his challenges have hurt the reputation of his own party.

There is no comparison between him and the clownish and opportunist Sen. Paul, whose most well know initiative in national security matters focused on pandering to tin-foil hat fantasies about armed FBI drones blundering about US airspace. I'm surprised he didn't capitalize on that meme by running a "one weird trick" video to sell dried food to hide from the black helicopters.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
It willbe most interesting to see how strongly Senator Charles Schumer
speaks out in support of this bill. Yes he voted for it. Living in New York state he almost has to do so. However, his strong voice or lack of it will reveal a lot......especially about him.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
"but the White House has adamantly maintained that sanctions legislation of any kind would irk Iran too much and drive them away from the negotiating table."

With the mullahs AND Our Beloved President advocating for Iran, it's comforting to see the Senate, at least, taking the US side.
Fact is, Obama wants an agreement to notch his legacy pistol with, whether it actually accomplishes anything or not. Our President doesn't give a damn about us.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Antecedents, Behaviors, Consequences

Could a future Iranian violation be the antecedent to war? Could war be the antecedent to threats of attacks by Mohammedan fanatics against Americans and American interests? Could such threats be the antecedent to Obama's declaring a "national emergency" with all that such a declaration implies in terms of Executive Orders already in place (www.inescapableconsequences.com)?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
It won't matter if they pass veto-proof sanctions and the President "chooses" not to enforce them....
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is another opportunity for unity in congress; and Obama is afraid of it and Jarrett is madder than hell. This bill will put the ball squarely in Iran's court; no more messing around or else - Iran's choice.
Putin is displaying his true colors - he bears watching.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
While it is refreshing to see some democrats finally opposing some of the stoopid decisions this admin has made I have serious doubts about the motives of those democrats. While they have been good little soldiers - lining up like good boys and girls and getting O'Care foisted on us I think they see in this a chance for them to show that they can oppose this admin, can be independent. And of course there is that power thing. Lose your seat in the congress and you go home and everyone forgets about you. That is not what these clowns are all about. They enjoy their power like I enjoy a round of golf and a good beer.


52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Little doubt you are right; but if they vote intelligently, even if it is for hypocritical reasons, then the will of the American People has been worked. That is politics...
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm always skeptical of people who do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Too often dems end up doing the wrong thing for all the wrong reasons. In math adding two negatives produce a positive - too bad life isn't more like math. We could benefit from their dumb actions.

Those dems won't get any credit from me until their motives are positive. I'll not hold my breath.


51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do some of the bipartisan Democrats realize that Iran might be able to sneak an atomic bomb into our capital? Are they the few cultists who ultimately refuse to drink the Kool-Aid. Hmm.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
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