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January 30, 2014 12:53 PM Iran WarHawks Pause To Smell the Flowers

By Ed Kilgore

It’s hard to tell if the president’s latest veto threat aimed at the Iran sanctions bill, delivered in the SOTU address, was the cause or the product of this development. But at any rate, Senate Democrats are walking back their support for immediate action on the bill at a brisk pace. Jennifer Bendery and Luke Johnson of HuffPost have been calling them up, and they’re mostly in a peaceful mood:

A controversial Iran sanctions bill is losing steam in the Senate, where at least three of its own Democratic cosponsors are warning that pushing the legislation now could thwart delicate international negotiations.
“Now is not the time for a vote on the Iran sanctions bill,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said at a Wednesday event hosted by Politico….
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a cosponsor of the sanctions bill, said in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, “After speaking with the President, I am comfortable giving him the additional time requested before this bill goes to the floor.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) echoed those sentiments Tuesday night.
“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating,” Manchin said on MSNBC. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it if we had to.”
He added that it’s better to “give peace a chance.”

Gee, I never figured Joe Manchin for a Plastic Ono Band fan. But you never know.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) already said earlier this month that a vote on the bill was not needed during the interim agreement. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) punted the matter to Reid.
“Senator Cardin wants to see negotiations with Iran succeed. As for timing of the bill, it is and has always been up to the Majority Leader,” Cardin spokeswoman Sue Walitsky said.

You get the idea. Harry Reid’s going to sit on the bill; he won’t get much pushback from Democrats; and Republicans don’t have the votes to cause much trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of House and Senate cosponsors actually goes up when it becomes obvious it’s a dead letter.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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