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Sherman: Kirk-Menendez got ‘it absolutely right’

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) says that when it comes to authoring powerful Iran sanctions, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have "done it absolutely right."

In a rebuke to Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) — who told me earlier today that he will work alongside the Obama administration to ensure that a final version of the Kirk-Menendez Iran sanction amendment is both "tough and sensible" — Sherman flatly declared that the measure is already perfect as is.

"Kirk-Menendez has it right," Sherman told me in an interview this afternoon. "If Berman wants to really see sanctions, he’ll join with many of us in signing a letter saying that the House ought to go along with the Kirk-Menendez language."

Referring to Berman’s guarantee that sanctions will be "tough and sensible," Sherman said: "Tough and sensible means soft and hard. It means jumbo shrimp. It’s an oxymoron."

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He added that "the purpose of the law is to force the administration to do something they don’t want to do, and working with them to do something sensible means working with them to do nothing of much importance."

"Working with the administration?" Sherman asked aloud as he read through Berman’s statement. "It doesn’t want the sanctions!" (Sherman noted, however, that the Obama administration wants to water sanctions down less than the Bush administration did.)

Sherman initially supported Berman’s Iran amendment. Speaking about that, Sherman indicated that he backed the language because "it’s better than doing absolutely nothing. It’s better than most non binding resolutions."

Sherman has been a vocal proponent of crippling Iran sanctions. He and Berman will be forced to square off against each other in next year’s election now that redistricting has combined their respective congressional districts.

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