Some good news today:
Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said Wednesday that Congress should not move forward with the Iran sanctions bill that he co-sponsored.
“Now is not the time for a vote on the Iran sanctions bill,” Coons said Wednesday during POLITICO’s post-State of the Union event held at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington.
Coons, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said sanctions so far have been “very constructive” and have brought Iran to the table. However, he added that progress has been made by the Obama administration, that should pause any legislation on sanctions.
“This administration has finally delivered on bringing together a multi-national coalition of our allies and our partners to make those sanctions work, to really cripple the Iranian economy and to bring them to the table. - Politico, 1/29/14
And Coons isn't the only Democratic co-sponsor feeling the heat:
"I think, to the extent that we simply excite the distance and the tension between the Congress and administration on this, that doesn't serve our shared view of making certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapons capability," Coons said.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) echoed those sentiments Tuesday night.
"I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating," Manchin said on MSNBC. "I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it if we had to."
He added that it’s better to "give peace a chance."
The shifts signal a slowing in momentum for the bill among Democrats, who have faced a full-court press from a number of top administration officials, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, Obama vowed to veto the bill if it landed on his desk and urged Congress to let international talks play out.
It’s already clear that Congress is reluctant to proceed on the issue. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has signaled an unwillingness to bring the sanctions bill to a vote, and in the House, party leaders have been meeting privately for weeks to figure out how to proceed. Talk in that chamber has centered on the possibility of voting on a non-binding resolution that would allow lawmakers to lay out their preferred endgame in Iran negotiations. - Huffington Post, 1/29/14
Here's a little more info:
Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) authored the legislation late last year, after the United States announced with its allies they had reached an interim deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program. The six-month agreement took effect last week.
The sanctions bill, however, would add additional and tougher sanctions than those already in place.
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Obama urged the bill’s 59 co-sponsors to reconsider their positions and to give diplomacy a chance.
“The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” Obama said.
Forty-three Republicans and 16 Democrats co-sponsor the bill, but three top Senate Democrats are reportedly opposed to moving it forward.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the fourth-highest ranking Democrat, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have said they are against the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also suggested he’s leaning toward not allowing a vote on it.
On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Senate should move the sanctions bill forward to the floor, predicting it would have a veto-proof majority. - The Hill, 1/29/14
Good news indeed but we need to keep up the pressure. Be sure to contact your Senator and remind them you want them to support diplomacy: