Despite all the hullaballoo over Senator Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran, many Democrats in Congress are sticking by their determination to let the legislative body have its say in negotiations with Iran. Politico has the scoop:
“The letter’s incredibly unfortunate and inappropriate,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a centrist Democrat who voted for the sanctions bill in committee and is a sponsor of the congressional approval legislation. “That doesn’t diminish my support for the legislation that we introduced.” […]“The letter was simply unacceptable, and it brought hyperpartisanship to an issue that we need to maintain our bipartisanship in,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), a supporter of sanctions that would not take effect unless talks fall apart or Iran backs away from the terms of any deal. “That doesn’t change my support for that bill. … I stay firm.” […]“This is a sad day in America when people are trying to kill negotiations that are underway,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said of the Cotton letter. But would he back away from Corker’s congressional approval bill?“No,” he answered, adding with apparent satisfaction: “I’m an original co-sponsor.”
The bill in question, authored by Senator Bob Corker, gives Congress 60 days to approve any deal that the Obama administration might negotiate with the Iranians. The bill, furthermore, strips the President of ‘waiver authorities’ regarding sanctions, in effect delaying any sanctions relief the Obama Administration is dangling before the Iranians as an inducement to sign on the dotted line.In comments late last week, Senator Corker seemed confident that the Cotton letter has not cost his bill bipartisan support. The Politico reporting seems to bear that out. And the White House is duly worried. Over the weekend, Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough penned a letter to Senator Corker, asking him to hold off on passing the bill until after June, when a final deal is supposed to be signed. Corker brushed the letter away to Politico, apparently confident of a veto-proof support for his initiative.The momentum distinctly feels like it’s slipping away from the White House.