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 PaulWe need congressional debate on Yemen Senate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro Overnight Defense: Civilian casualties raise questions about rules of engagement | Air Force nominee set for hearing | Senate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro MORE (R-Ky.) and Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeWounded Ryan faces new battle Overnight Tech: High court hears case on where patent suits are filed | House to vote on blocking internet privacy rules | Facebook's new tools for voters House to vote Tuesday on blocking Obama internet privacy rules 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 MenendezCorruption trial could roil NJ Senate race Steve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order 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 ReidSenate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch After healthcare fail, 4 ways to revise conservative playbook 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.

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet:

Follow us on Twitter: @TheHillGlobal and @JPecquetTheHill