A letter drafted by Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) urging swift, tough sanctions on Iran will be mailed to President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObamas welcome Olympians to White House Overnight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform Obama pushes to end solitary confinement; states led the way. MORE on Monday with 366 House signatures.
Late Friday afternoon, Jackson's office said they were still in the process of gathering the hundreds of signatures on the letter.
"We cannot allow those who would oppose or delay sanctions to govern either the timing or content of our efforts," it says, in reference to the lack of support at the Security Council by veto-wielders China and Russia.
The letter calls on Obama to "fulfill your June 2008 pledge that you would do 'everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,'" to "rapidly" implement the sanctions legislation when it comes out of conference and use whatever presidential powers at his means to impose "punishing measures" on Tehran.
Jackson and Pence, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Eric CantorEric CantorRyan seeks to avoid Boehner fate on omnibus GOPers fear trillion-dollar vote is inevitable Insiders dominate year of the outsider MORE (R-Va.), as well as Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.), confirmed the culmination of their effort at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
"This is a moment where traditional loyalties and interests give way to the interests of the United States of America," said Pence, who characterized the letter to Obama as "firm but respectful."
In the Senate, a similar letter circulated by Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamKerry: US 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Russia on Syria GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override McConnell opens door to changing 9/11 bill MORE (R-S.C.) had gathered 76 signatures as of Wednesday, but that number had climbed to 80 as of Friday.
"Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons remains a diplomatic imperative," the letter states. "But time is not on the side of those who seek to prevent a nuclear Iran.
"... We urge you to move quickly to implement your existing authority on Iran and the legislation we send you, and to galvanize the international community to take immediate, substantive steps. Now is the time for action focused on preventing a nuclear Iran. We look forward to working with you on this important task."
In December, the House approved 412-12 a measure enabling Obama to ban foreign firms that supply Iran with refined petroleum from doing business in the U.S. The Senate passed its own version of sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector by voice vote on Jan. 28.
Next week, the House will move to instruct conferees and take the sanctions bill to conference.