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.”
What We're Following See More »
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.
Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."
Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."