June 10, 2009

BREAKING: House Republicans try for Ahmadinejad “October surprise”

On the House floor just a few moments ago, the Congress was debating the State Department Authorizations bill–essentially the budget for US Foreign Service–when the Republicans submitted a surprise proposal:
Rather than approve the State Authorization bill, they asked for a vote on H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009–the sanctions bill sponsored by Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) that even hardliners admit would mean “Iranians are going to die” if passed.
Now Chairman Berman has assured everyone that he does not want the sanctions to pass anytime soon, since President Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t want new sanctions on Iran before diplomacy is given a chance. But apparently some lawmakers thought they could score cheap political points by rushing through a vote on these sanctions 36 hours before the Iranian presidential election.
Just two days ago, we were told that another sanctions bill–H.R. 1327, the Iran divestment bill–would not be voted on this week (despite the fact that it was on the floor calendar that the Republicans sent out…) precisely because of the upcoming elections.  We were fine giving them the benefit of the doubt–maybe it was just an honest mistake–but apparently there are some who actually want to help Ahmadinejad’s chances for reelection by inserting the US Congress into the Iranian presidential election.

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