Accusing those who are pushing for additional sanctions against Iran of wanting a war is "irresponsible," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.
"There have been some that have suggested in the White House that those folks were more interested in war than they were in the resolution by peaceful means," the Maryland Democrat said, The Hill reports. "I think that is absolutely untrue, an irresponsible assertion and ought to be clarified and retracted by those who have made it within the administration."
He added that he is "sensitive to the administration's concern" that current proposals could derail progress made toward curbing Iran's nuclear program. Iranian officials have said that if Congress passes additional sanctions -- even if the sanctions would be delayed -- they would walk away from talks.
Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said on Friday that if members of Congress "want the United States to take military action, they should be up front with the American people and say so."
"Otherwise, it's not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran's nuclear program to continue," she said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has also warned that passage of sanctions legislation would risk a "march to war."
The House passed additional sanctions against Iran last year, and a GOP leadership aide told Roll Call that the House could take up the Senate's version of the sanctions legislation to try to add pressure on senators to pass the legislation.
Sanctions legislation introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has broad bipartisan support, and it is hovering near the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has hedged on whether or not he will allow the bill to come up for a vote.