A bipartisan bill to increase sanctions on Iran appears to have a filibuster-proof majority, according to a Senate aide, but the Obama administration already has vowed to veto it.
A source tracking a bill from Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., confirmed a CNN report that backers have rounded up enough members to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle. But a Senate Democratic leadership aide denied that the legislation will come to the floor in the coming weeks, and said especially not during the week of the State of the Union. That timing would be awkward for Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, as the White House has urged Congress repeatedly to hold off on a sanctions deal until an agreement between world leaders and Iran forcing the country to ease off its nuclear program has been given time to succeed.
“The president would veto it,” Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House in December. Another round of sanctions now, Carney said then — and the administration has repeatedly warned — would threaten the diplomatic progress Secretary of State John Kerry believes he has made.