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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE (R-Ky.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House Flake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense MORE (R-Ariz.), both of whom are libertarian-leaning members critical of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. 

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Sixteen Democrats have also signed on to the legislation, which was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezCongress must provide flexible funding for owners of repeatedly flooded properties Senate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case 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 Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle 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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