Menendez Keeps Democrats From Having to Choose Between Supporting Israel and Negotiations With Iran

The New Jersey lawmaker has struck down an amendment that would have linked Iran sanctions to a pro-Israel bill.

National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
May 21, 2014, 1:16 a.m.

Robert Men­en­dez is mak­ing things easi­er for Demo­crats stuck between show­ing sup­port for Is­rael and back­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an.

On Monday, the Demo­crat­ic chair­man of the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee re­moved a pro-Is­rael bill from the com­mit­tee’s agenda, For­eign Policy‘s John Hud­son re­ports, after a pro­posed amend­ment threatened to split Demo­crats’ al­le­gi­ances.

The bill, called the U.S.-Is­rael Stra­tegic Part­ner­ship Act, would strengthen ties between the two coun­tries in a num­ber of aren­as, in­clud­ing mil­it­ary, trade, in­tel­li­gence, and en­ergy. But an amend­ment from the com­mit­tee’s top Re­pub­lic­an, Sen. Bob Cork­er, R-Tenn., gave Men­en­dez pause. Cork­er’s amend­ment would force Pres­id­ent Obama to present any nuc­le­ar deal with Ir­an to Con­gress with­in three days of its sig­na­ture, a situ­ation the White House is try­ing to avoid. Con­gress could hold a “vote of dis­ap­prov­al” and con­duct hear­ings on the nuc­le­ar deal, but its opin­ion would carry no leg­ally bind­ing weight.

This is not the first time law­makers have at­temp­ted to at­tach Ir­an sanc­tions to a bill at the last minute. A tough­er ver­sion of the Cork­er amend­ment, which would have re­quired Obama to prove Ir­an’s com­pli­ance with the nuc­le­ar deal in or­der to stave off a re­applic­a­tion of eco­nom­ic sanc­tions, was bundled with a de­fense bill in Decem­ber. It died soon after, thanks to pres­sure from the White House. In Feb­ru­ary, Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans tried un­suc­cess­fully to add Ir­an sanc­tions to a bill about vet­er­ans’ be­ne­fits.

Here, the Cork­er amend­ment’s at­tempt to link the Is­rael is­sue with Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations could be seen as a ploy to di­vide Demo­crats in the run-up to midterm elec­tions, for­cing them to choose between sup­port­ing Is­rael or the ad­min­is­tra­tion. On the oth­er hand, some see no day­light between the two is­sues, ar­guing that a pro-Is­rael stance must in­clude sup­port for sanc­tions on Ir­an.

What We're Following See More »
THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
6 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
LATER TO THIS YEAR’S NADER
Jim Webb Rules Out Independent Bid
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

UPDATED: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will not be playing the role of Ralph Nader in this year’s election. Speaking in Dallas today, Webb said, “We looked at the possibility of an independent candidacy. Theoretically, it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don’t see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run.”

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
8 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
×