Iran Sanctions Bill Is ‘Coming,’ Kirk Says

The Republican senator is hopeful that bipartisan backing will move the measure forward.

Sen. Mark Kirk speaks in his Washington D.C. office on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. 
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Dec. 17, 2013, 1:27 p.m.

Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, the lead Re­pub­lic­an work­ing on a bi­par­tis­an Ir­an sanc­tions bill, told re­port­ers Tues­day that he’s op­tim­ist­ic the meas­ure will come out soon and that mem­bers in­volved can push it for­ward.

“It’s com­ing,” he said Tues­day, after vot­ing on an un­re­lated budget meas­ure. “I was just talk­ing to Sen­at­or Schu­mer about pro­gress. Hop­ing to do that and to work it out with Bob Men­en­dez.”

Kirk said that the tim­ing of a bill rol­lout and any con­sid­er­a­tion in the Sen­ate will be up to his top Demo­crat­ic part­ner on sanc­tions, Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Robert Men­en­dez of New Jer­sey, and of course Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id.

“The tim­ing will be up to Harry and Bob,” he said. “It’s com­ing up.”

Kirk said his goal is to keep his ex­pec­ted Demo­crat­ic co­spon­sors like Men­en­dez and Sen. Chuck Schu­mer of New York con­tent and united. “But ob­vi­ously for me it’s to work closely with ma­jor­ity part­ners who con­trol tim­ing and when things can be offered,” he said. “We are in pretty good shape.”

Kirk sought to de­bunk per­cep­tions that in­tense Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion lob­by­ing has had a chilling ef­fect on in­ter­ested mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly Demo­crats.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion lob­by­ing has been dis­ap­point­ing to me,” he said. “I al­ways read much more clas­si­fied stuff in The New York Times than any­thing they give in the brief­ings.”

Kirk said he was push­ing to roll out a sanc­tions bill this week, be­fore law­makers ad­journ for the year.

“I’m hop­ing,” he said. “I’m go­ing to be very wel­ded to my part­ner Bob Men­en­dez to make sure that he’s happy and that the Men­en­dez-Kirk brand is one in which two guys are back-to-back against the Ir­a­ni­ans.”

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