September 25, 2008

Breaking: Last-Minute Push for Iran Sanctions in Congress

Last night, a number of frantic emails from colleagues and Hill staffers revealed that, despite previous signs that proposed Iran sanctions were dead in the water, a bill will be considered either today or tomorrow to impose further sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program.
In a last-minute maneuver, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced draft legislation to approve of a sanctions package similar to S.3445, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). (See: NIAC’s analysis of the Dodd sanctions package)

The plan in the House is to consider the bill under suspension of the rules today or tomorrow along with a proposed nuclear agreement with India that has broad bipartisan support.  Both are likely to pass the House, though could be stalled in the Senate due to a unanimous consent requirement.  Even one Senator who objects to consideration of the bill could scuttle the whole thing.
As of now, time is not on the side of those pushing for more sanctions.  Congress is set to adjourn this weekend, and still has to pass a major financial bailout to deal with the current economic crisis as well as a stopgap spending measure to keep the federal government running until next spring.

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