WASHINGTON—J Street welcomes news that 150 Members of Congress have signed a letter to the President in support of diplomacy now underway to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The letter, authored by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) and David Price (NC-4), marks the largest Congressional expression of support for diplomacy with Iran to date. It demonstrates that at least one-third of the voting Members of the House of Representatives are actively and publicly backing the President's efforts to reach a tough and workable final agreement with Iran along the lines of the framework announced on April 2. J Street lobbied in support of the letter.
“This strong signal of support for diplomacy could not come at a more critical or appropriate time. Negotiations under the framework toward a final agreement are taking place in earnest, while the Senate is considering legislation that would formalize a prudent and reasonable Congressional review process for any such agreement,” said Dylan Williams, J Street’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “This letter is a decisive rebuke to the opponents of diplomacy who are dangerously trying to kill negotiations and put the United States, our allies and the region on the path to another war.”
Signers of the letter include more than three-quarters of the Democratic caucus, including leaders such as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Ben Ray Lujan. Also signing the letter are 15 Ranking Members of various committees, more than half of the Democratic Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and seven Members who self-identify as Jewish.
The text of the letter and full list of signers are below.
Text of the Letter & Signers:
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As negotiations over Iran's nuclear program continue, we urge you to stay on course, building on the recently announced political framework and continuing to work toward a strong and verifiable agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran that will prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. We commend you and your negotiating team, as well as our coalition partners, for the significant progress made thus far.
This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire. We must exhaust every avenue toward a verifiable, enforceable, diplomatic solution in order to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely. The multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table would likely collapse, and the Iranian regime would likely decide to accelerate its nuclear program, unrestricted and unmonitored. Such developments could lead us to war.
War itself will not make us safe. A U.S. or Israeli military strike may set back Iranian nuclear development by two or three years at best – a significantly shorter timespan than that covered by a P5+1 negotiated agreement. We must pursue diplomatic means to their fullest and allow the negotiations to run their course – especially now that the parties have announced a strong framework – and continue working to craft a robust and verifiable Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by June 30.
We must allow our negotiating team the space and time necessary to build on the progress made in the political framework and turn it into a long-term, verifiable agreement. If we do not succeed, Congress will remain at-the-ready to act and present you with additional options to ensure that Iran is prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Thank you for your resolve in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. We look forward to continuing our shared work on this important matter.
Schakowsky, Jan; Price, David; Doggett, Lloyd; Adams, Alma; Aguilar, Pete; Ashford, Brad; Bass, Karen; Beatty, Joyce; Becerra, Xavier; Bera, Ami; Beyer, Don; Bishop, Sanford; Blumenauer, Earl; Bordallo, Madeleine; Bonamici, Suzanne; Brady, Robert; Brown, Corrine; Brownley, Julia; Bustos, Cheri; Butterfield, G.K.; Capps, Lois; Capuano, Mike; Cardenas, Tony; Carney, John; Carson, Andre; Cartwright, Matt; Castor, Kathy; Castro, Joaquin; Chu, Judy; Cicilline, David; Clark, Katherine; Clarke, Yvette; Clay, WM Lacy; Cleaver, Emanuel; Clyburn, James; Cohen, Steve; Connolly, Gerry; Conyers, John; Courtney, Joe; Cummings, Elijah; Davis, Danny; Davis, Susan; DeFazio, Peter; DeGette, Diana; DeLauro, Rosa; DelBene, Suzan; DeSaulnier, Mark; Dingell, Debbie; Doyle, Mike; Duckworth, Tammy; Edwards, Donna; Ellison, Keith; Eshoo, Anna; Esty, Elizabeth; Fattah, Chaka; Farr, Sam; Foster, Bill; Fudge, Marcia; Gallego, Ruben; Garamendi, John; Green, Al; Grijalva, Raul; Gutierrez, Luis; Hahn, Janice; Heck, Denny; Higgins, Brian; Hinojosa, Ruben; Honda, Mike; Huffman, Jared; Jackson Lee, Sheila; Jeffries, Hakeem; Johnson, EB; Johnson, Hank; Kaptur, Marcy; Keating, Bill; Kelly, Robin; Kennedy, Joe; Kildee, Dan; Kind, Ron; Kuster, Ann; Langevin, Jim; Larsen, Rick; Larson, John; Lawrence, Brenda; Lee, Barbara; Lewis, John; Lieu, Ted; Loebsack, David; Lofgren, Zoe; Lowenthal, Alan; Lujan, Ben Ray; Lujan Grisham, Michelle; Lynch, Stephen; Maloney, Sean Patrick; Matsui, Doris; McCollum, Betty; McDermott, Jim; McGovern, Jim; McNerney, Jerry; Meeks, Gregory; Moore, Gwen; Moulton, Seth; Napolitano, Grace; Neal, Richard; Nolan, Rick; Norton, Eleanor Holmes; O’Rourke, Beto; Payne Jr., Donald; Pelosi, Nancy; Perlmutter, Ed; Pierluisi, Pedro; Pingree, Chellie; Plaskett, Stacey; Pocan, Mark; Polis, Jared; Rangel, Charles; Richmond, Cedric; Roybal-Allard, Lucille; Ruiz, Raul; Ruppersberger, C.A. Dutch; Rush, Bobby; Ryan, Tim; Sablan, Gregorio; Sanchez, Linda; Sanchez, Loretta; Scott, Bobby; Scott, David; Serrano, Jose; Sewell, Terri; Slaughter, Louise; Smith, Adam; Speier, Jackie; Swalwell, Eric; Takai, Mark; Takano, Mark; Thompson, Bennie; Thompson, Mike; Tonko, Paul; Torres, Norma; Tsongas, Niki; Van Hollen, Chris; Veasey, Marc; Velazquez, Nydia; Visclosky, Peter; Walz, Tim; Waters, Maxine; Watson Coleman, Bonnie; Welch, Peter; Wilson, Frederica; Yarmuth, John