Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions

Senate Democrats are demanding Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility California governor predicts 'xenophobic' GOP will likely be third party in 15 years This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request MORE bring up a straight 10-year extension of key Iran sanctions once lawmakers return to Washington next month.

Seven Democrats — led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) — sent a letter to the Kentucky Republican asking that he "prioritize" a clean extension of the Iran Sanctions Act during the Senate's end-of-year session. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"Passing this vital legislation before its expiration is crucial to ensuring with the utmost certainty that the United States will continue to have the sanctions enforcement mechanism our national security demands," they wrote in Wednesday's letter, a copy of which was also sent to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who chairs the Banking Committee. 
 
McConnell said last year that any Iran proposal would need to have 67 votes — enough to overcome a potential veto — before he would allow it to get floor time. 
 
The Iran Sanctions Act will expire at the end of the year without congressional action. Though there is wide-spread support for extending ISA, lawmakers are deeply divided over what should be included in an extension. 
 
Top Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenators briefed on US Navy's encounters with UFOs: report Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Trump weighs in on UFOs in Stephanopoulos interview MORE (D-Nev.) and Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (N.Y.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinProposed bipartisan kidney legislation takes on kidney disease epidemic in America Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars House votes to boost retirement savings MORE (Md.), introduced an extension that would run through 2026 earlier the year. 
 
Meanwhile, Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSchumer: Trump must get congressional approval before any military action against Iran Trump faces skepticism about Iran war authority from both parties Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran MORE (D-Va.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale Trump faces skepticism about Iran war authority from both parties MORE (D-Conn.) introduced a separate proposal that would let the Iran Sanctions Act expire after approximately eight years if Iran complies with the nuclear deal.
 
Republicans want to tie the ISA extension to broader penalties against Iran amid lingering fallout over last year's separate nuclear agreement with Iran, and a string of recent missile tests by that country. 
 
A proposal backed by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPress: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment Jeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as GOP Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonUS officials express optimism negotiations with Iran possible Cotton: 'Healthy skepticism warranted' when dealing with Democrats on immigration Cotton: I hope Trump's statement 'got through' to Iran's leaders MORE (Ark.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate GOP lawmaker on Iran: Congress should vote on 'what's worthy of spilling American blood and what isn't' The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider? MORE (Fla.), and Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinRepublicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor Critics say Interior's top lawyer came 'close to perjury' during Hill testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments MORE (W.Va.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate to vote on blocking Trump's Saudi arms deal as soon as this week There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties MORE (N.J.) — who both opposed the nuclear agreement — would extend the sanctions for 10 years.
 
It would also include mandatory new sanctions and limitations on a president's ability to use national security waivers. Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race New Hampshire senator to ask 2020 Dems to back repeal of state residency law MORE (R-N.H.) separately tied an extension to sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program. 
 
Cardin told reporters last month that while he thinks lawmakers will be able to come to do a deal there's a "risk factor" to waiting until the lame-duck session to try to move the sanctions extension. 
 
"There's a risk factor that the leadership may not want it to go by itself, and they might very well put it with other provisions that may be unacceptable," he said. "There's a lot of interest in Congress to deal with Iran, and if that holds up that debate and we're in lame-duck session then it's possible everything could fall."
  
Democratic Sens. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann Stabenow It's time to let Medicare to negotiate drug prices Trump judicial nominee says he withdrew over 'gross mischaracterizations' of record Trump judicial nominee withdraws amid Republican opposition: report MORE (Mich.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyCongress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break Chaos within the EPA exposes Americans to toxins like asbestos Parties unite to move Myanmar sanctions bill MORE (Ore.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Grassley announces opposition to key Trump proposal to lower drug prices Exclusive: Trump administration delayed releasing documents related to Yellowstone superintendent's firing MORE (Ore.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharJuan Williams: Warren on the rise Progressive group launches campaign to identify voters who switch to Warren 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE (Minn.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democratic senators want NBC primary debate to focus on climate change Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (N.M.), and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) also signed Wednesday's letter.