Sen. Robert Menendez fired back at a Republican letter that pressed for a vote on his Iran sanctions legislation.
Under Menendez’s bill, additional sanctions would be levied against Iran if it walks away from the interim agreement over its nuclear program, or talks over a long-term deal. Iranian officials have said such legislation, or any sanctions legislation, would kill diplomatic progress.
“I have long thought of this as a bipartisan national security issue — not a partisan political issue,” the New Jersey Democrat said. “And — at the end of the day — a national security issue that we must approach in a spirit of bipartisanship and unity, which has been the spirit for which we have worked together on this matter. And I hope that we will not find ourselves in a partisan process trying to force a vote on a national security matter before its appropriate time.”
Forty-two Republicans sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid on Tuesday calling for a vote during the current work period on Menendez’s proposal. That would require a vote on the bill next week, with the Senate expected to start its next state-work period on Feb. 17.
In the letter, uploaded by The Daily Beast‘s Josh Rogin, Republicans say it is the Obama administration that is turning a historically bipartisan issue into a partisan one, and hits at Reid for taking “unprecedented steps to take away the rights of the minority in the Senate.”
Republicans have continued to speak out against Reid’s decision to “go nuclear” last year, and the two sides have frequently gotten bogged down in fights over amendments to legislation.
The sanctions bill has 58 cosponsors, 15 of whom are Democrats and 43 are Republican. Of the 15 Democratic cosponors, two signed on after Dec. 19 — the day the bill was introduced.
Under the interim agreement reached by six countries with Iran in November, the country curbs its nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
Menendez said he remains deeply concerned about Iran, noting that officials “say one thing behind closed doors in Geneva, and say another thing publically.”
And he called the one-year sanctions delay included in his proposal “significant and generous given Iran’s history of treachery and deceit.”
But whether or not sanctions legislation will come up for a vote in the Senate rests with one person — Reid, who has frequently avoided being pinned down on if, and when, he would bring such a proposal to the floor.
The Nevada Democrat said last month that he would “wait and see” about legislation.
What We're Following See More »
Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."