Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., attempted on March 27 to secure quick approval of the legislation with no amendments, but Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pushed to add language stating that the bill was not an authorization to use military force. Reid also faced a challenge from Kirk, who pressed for nine additional changes.
The new version of the bill includes elements of amendments that Kirk and Menendez had proposed, including tougher sanctions against companies that engage in or back censorship in Iran.
In a letter to Senate leaders last week, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, praised the bipartisan legislation and Congress for forcing "Iran's leaders to face the choice between compliance with its international obligations and international opprobrium."
Other issues are certain to be part of a House-Senate conference to produce a final version of the legislation.
In its letter, AIPAC thanked Menendez and Kirk for deferring their amendments to the conference committee to ensure that the legislation moved ahead. It urged Senate leaders to give their proposed changes careful consideration during negotiations with the House.
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