President Obama spent the early part of this week lobbying senators in order to prevent the passage of any new sanctions on Iran, but now lawmakers have formed a working group to draft new sanctions and get them passed ASAP.
Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated on the floor that he will support a new sanctions bill against Iran.
“The Senate must be prepared to move forward with a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill, when the Senate returns after Thanksgiving recess,” Reid said. “And I am committed to do so.”
Shortly after Reid’s pledge to let a sanctions bill move, a Group of 14 was announced to forge bipartisan legislation.
The senators in the group are Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“A nuclear weapons capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security interest of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability,” the senators said in a joint statement.
“We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”
That shouldn’t be very hard, considering the large bipartisan majorities that have passed sanctions bills in the past. However, some Dems including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have indicated they want to stick by Obama’s wishes and not pass new sanctions while negotiations are ongoing in Geneva.
“The purpose of sanctions was to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they have succeeded in doing so. Tacking new sanctions onto the defense authorization bill or any other legislation would not lead to a better deal. It would lead to no deal at all,” Feinstein said a week ago.