Iran sanctions bill gains traction in Senate

An Iran sanctions bill opposed by the White House continues to gain traction in Congress, with 59 senators officially signing on as of Friday morning — just one shy of a filibuster-proof majority.

Another five lawmakers, all Republicans, signed on as co-sponsors on Thursday. Only two Republicans have so far abstained: Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency The ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) and Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeGraham, Durbin 'encouraged' by Trump's comments on Dreamers Unlike Romney, Evan McMullin stands tall against Trump Cures bill clears first Senate hurdle MORE (R-Ariz.), both of whom are libertarian-leaning members critical of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. 

Sixteen Democrats have also signed on to the legislation, which was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-N.J.) shortly before the holiday recess. More are believed to be ready to vote for the bill if it ever comes up for a vote.

The drip-drip of co-sponsorships is putting pressure on Senate Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid predicts filibuster will come to an end Senate holds two-hour Biden lovefest Dem senator threatens to slow-walk spending bill MORE (D-Nev.) to buck the White House and schedule a vote on the bill. The bill would slap new sanctions on Iran's energy sector if it reneges on a preliminary deal reached in November or fails to agree to a final deal that bars it from enriching uranium, which the Obama administration says would imperial nuclear talks.

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