WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Despite opposition from the Obama administration, U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose sanctions on Iran if the country breaks an interim deal struck last month under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.
Democrats Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk introduced with 23 others the bill intended to choke off funding to Iran’s nuclear program by cutting off its oil sales.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of 10 U.S. Senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate, arguing that current law raises the cost of food and animal feed and damages the environment.
The bill, introduced by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat; Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican; and eight cosponsors, faces an uphill battle as many lawmakers from agricultural states support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)that dictates that rising volumes of ethanol made from grains, including corn, be blended into motor fuel.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators are preparing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran in six months if an interim deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program goes nowhere, penalties that Iran’s foreign minister has said would kill the agreement.
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk are close to agreeing on legislation that would target Iran’s remaining oil exports, foreign exchange reserves and strategic industries, aides said on Monday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives said on Wednesday they are concerned about Iran’s ability to continue enriching uranium under the interim agreement on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, an issue they are likely to press as global powers attempt to reach a final agreement.
The concerns showed that House lawmakers could be willing to push for a new sanctions package next year that would define what Congress would be willing to accept in a final deal with Iran.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department extended six-month Iran sanctions waivers on Friday to China, India, South Korea and other countries in exchange for their reducing purchases of Iranian crude oil earlier this year.
The waivers had been expected. Under a law governing sanctions imposed on Iran’s disputed nuclear program by the United States, the State Department is required to determine whether the Islamic Republic’s oil consumers have reduced their purchases.
DETROIT (Reuters) – Fisker Automotive, the moribund maker of the Karma plug-in hybrid sports cars, agreed to sell itself to an investor group on Friday and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The investor group, Hybrid Technology LLC, took control of the car company after paying $25 million for a U.S. Department of Energy green technology loan to Fisker worth $168 million, said a spokesman for Representative Marsha Blackburn, vice chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Friday to slash federal requirements for U.S. biofuel use in 2014, partially bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry and attempting to prevent a projected fuel crunch next year.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to cut overall use of renewable fuels – made mostly from U.S. corn and to a lesser extent from soybeans, grasses, crop waste and Brazilian sugar cane – to a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. lawmakers expressed sharp frustration with the Obama administration’s call to delay new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, underscoring the difficult sales job the Democratic president has as he pursues a rapprochement with Tehran.
Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials visited Capitol Hill to warn senators that implementing the new measures could scuttle delicate talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If the Congress imposes new sanctions against Iran, it could scuttle ongoing international negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons work, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
“The risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions it could break faith in those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart,” Kerry told reporters before a meeting with U.S. senators on the matter.
NEW ORLEANS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Friday that Israeli and Saudi criticism of a deal taking shape with Iran to curb its nuclear program was premature, as unease about the plan grew among U.S. lawmakers and Middle Eastern allies.
“There is no deal, but there is an opportunity here for a possible diplomatic solution, and that is exactly what the president is pursuing,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to New Orleans.