House shelves plans for vote on Iran sanctions

House Republicans are moving away from a proposal to adopt new Iran sanctions.

Republicans had floated the idea in recent days in order to put pressure on the Democratic-controlled Senate to buck the White House and vote on its sanctions bill. The partisan move irked traditionally pro-Israel Democrats, such as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), however, and the idea appears to have been at least temporarily shelved.

“We're not talking about that at this point in time,” Hoyer told The Hill on Thursday.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he's trying to find a bipartisan accommodation that could make Congress's concerns about the nuclear talks clear.

“There’s an awful lot of bipartisan discussions about Iran,” Boehner told reporters during his weekly press conference on Thursday. “We’ve got concerns about the interim agreement, and I think a lot of members on both sides of the aisle would like to state the House’s position more clearly in terms of what we’d like to see in the final agreement. So those conversations are continuing.” 

The White House has launched a full-court press to prevent a vote in the Senate, which the administration says could derail ongoing negotiations and lead to war. The bipartisan legislation, filed by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), has the public support of 59 members. The House passed its own sanctions bill on a 400-20 vote over the summer.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had worked with Hoyer and Engel on a resolution calling for new sanctions, if Iran fails to agree to a final deal that dismantles its nuclear infrastructure. Hoyer pulled his support in December amid heavy lobbying from the White House.

Republicans hope to get Hoyer and other crucial Democrats back on board some kind of Iran resolution, but Engel has made clear a vote on a sanctions bill wasn't the way to get there. 

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