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January 29, 2015 3:46 pm

Decisive Senate Banking Committee Vote on Iran Sanctions Bill Undermines Obama Veto Threat

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The Senate Banking Committee voted 18-4 to advance Iran sanctions legislation proposed by Senators Robert Menendez (l) and Mark Kirk. Photo: Twitter

President Barack Obama’s threat to use his veto against new Iran sanctions legislation could potentially backfire, following today’s decisive vote by the Senate Banking Committee to advance a bill proposed by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) that would impose fresh penalties on the Tehran regime should there be no final agreement on its nuclear program in the coming months.

The committee voted 18-4 to send the “Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2015” to the Senate floor, with all four opposing votes being cast by Democrats. However, six Democrats joined with twelve Republicans in approving the measure.

In the aftermath of the vote, Menendez said that he and other Democrats were opposed to the bill being immediately brought before the Senate, preferring to wait for a March 24 deadline for a political framework agreement with the Iranians. There is also a further deadline of June for a technical agreement.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) concurred with Menendez, saying “I look at this effort today overall as putting in place a placeholder on the Senate floor. My guess is if the negotiations break down, many people may want to do something even stronger than what this bill says today.”

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Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, another Democrat who backs the proposed legislation, explained that since “a strong, negotiated agreement is the best solution, a solution that I hope we achieve, I, along with a group of my colleagues – many of whom who are sponsors of the original Menendez-Kirk legislation – have said we will not vote for the bill on the floor of the Senate until then. If by March 24th the Iranians haven’t come to an agreement, I will vote for the bill on the floor of the Senate at that time.”

The more important question, however, is whether the bill has mustered enough support to override any veto on President Obama’s part. According to Defense News, “the 18-4 committee vote suggests there may be the 67 required votes in the chamber to overturn a veto.”

In a briefing note concerning the Banking Committee vote, Washington, DC advocacy organization The Israel Project said it had already identified 68 potential votes against a veto (a minimum of 67 votes is required to override the president.) These would be composed of all of the 52 Republicans in the Senate, with the exceptions of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, along with a significant contingent of Democrats, including the three senators who sponsored the last iteration of the Kirk-Menendez Bill.

Responding to the Banking Committee vote, White House spokesman Josh Earnest declared himself “pleased that Democrats have put forward a statement indicating that they would hold off their support for legislation that would impose additional sanctions on Iran until the end of March.”

Earnest added that “The President has made the case…that additional sanctions put in place against Iran right now, in the midst of ongoing negotiations, could threaten the overall deal.”

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  • William Hausman

    Let us all realize the overriding simple truth. The Islamic countries cannot and will not tolerate a Zionist entity (Jews,Israel)in the Levant. To do so would abrogate their most sacred covenant, the Qur’an, and negate as false all the Hadiths concerning the destruction of Israel. Iran, along with all the other 57 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Conferences, will therefore never renounce in what it considers its duty by Allah to kill Jews (i.e., Israel.) So, any nuclear agreement with Iran is diplomatic smoke, a charade. I think Israel’s continued existence is very problematic. Any solutions? Maybe. Contain Obama now and after he leaves the White House. He’s not going away.

  • Let’s get our heads out of the sand people.

    1- Any- repeat- any deal with Iran purporting to stop it from getting the bomb is Munich all over again. The mullahs are happy to continue lying and cheating to get the sanctions off their back while the centrifuges whirl and the work at the Parchin weapons facility continues.

    2- The Mullahs, like Hitler was, are sociopaths. Hence, they will sign anything without the slightest intent to honor their obligations.

    3- Obama detests Israel and is an anti-Semite. He is also a sociopath. Doubt this? Think of the demonstrable major fabrications he has committed over the past six years without missing a beat: Red Line on Syria, If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan, announcing in his State of the Union speech that he has stopped Russia from picking on Ukraine, that he has defeated Al Quaeda, refusing to admit that we are at war with Islamist extremists, leaking Israel’s arrangement with Azerbaijan to use its land to launch its bomber jets, name a few. What is the significance of this? It is that he is now lying when he says that he wants to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. As far as he is concerned, the U.S.A. has no moral right to stop Iran. He views the USA and Israel as colonial, imperialist powers that need to be put it in their place and atone for their sins.

    Bottom line: The entire negotiations are a charade, a cover for Obama to a) announce this great achievement to win another Peace Prize and b) let Iran get the bomb, and c) give political cover to the Democrats because he well knows that he cannot reveal his true feelings about Israel and Iran as that would not be palatable here in the USA.

    Obama is Chamberlain but at least Chamberlain’s motives were good.

    4- Only Netanyahu can prevent Iran from going nuclear. Whether he will is the question.

  • In the ‘doomsday’ language in which this debate unfortunately has to be couched, it should be remembered that Israel has armed itself with a ‘second strike capability’ powered by submarines hidden in the depths.

    In the end, it may be that only God and ‘M.A.D’ – mutually assured destruction – are left reigning supreme.

  • Jonah

    And we all no what the completion of the overal deal is….the nuking of Israel. That is a fact. Only an idiot could not be aware of what us going on or they are complicit in obamas plan.

  • It looks as ,sanity has returned ,to the American political system and. Obama can jump…..

  • steven L

    Finally America is realizing the great danger our President is exposing the country to.

  • judithg

    happening now only in bizarro world. funding iran and imagining a “deal” with the mad mullahs while the cetrifuges are spinning. our funds of course will not be used to supply their terror proxies hezbullah and hamas. as charles krautheimer pointed out earlier this evening, “you cannot parody this administration”.

  • Michael

    Obama’s red line in the sand means absolutely nothing. The first small breeze that comes along covers the line with sand. The Middle East is on fire and Iran is busy fueling the flames. Any possibility of a nuclear armed Iran threatens the entire world.

  • Mickey Oberman

    At last – a possible awakening of some Americans.

    I hope it is not too late.

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