The Cable

After State Department, Clinton looks forward to grandkids

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is constantly rumored to be considering a run for the presidency in 2016, but the only title she will openly admit to seeking is "grandma."

"What are the chances in 2013 we see Hillary Clinton go from Secretary of State to grandma?" Clinton was asked in an April 1 interview in Turkey with ABC.

"Well, that's really not up to me, but I would like to have that title. I will certainly tell you that's a title I would be proud to have," Clinton responded. "I think I'd be pretty good, but I won't know till I try."

The interviewer asked her if she relished the transition from chasing world leaders to diaper duty.

"Well, you're making it seem like there are certain characteristics in common with both enterprises, but I am looking forward to a return to private life," Clinton said while laughing.

That won't quite satisfy the long list of public figures calling on Clinton to take a run at the presidency again in 2016, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who publicly called for such a move yesterday.

But Clinton said again April 1 that she will not run for president in 2016 in an interview with NBC.

"It's very flattering, but I'm not at all planning to do that. I have no desire or intention," she said. "I want to do the best job I can as the Secretary of State for this President. I want to then take some time to get reconnected to the stuff that makes life worth living - family, friends, the sort of activities that I enjoy. And I'll do some writing and some speaking and I'm sure I'll be continuing to advocate on these issues."

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The Cable

House members push Reid to allow tougher Iran sanctions

Several top members of the House of Representatives are fighting for expanded sanctions on Iran, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) opposes any changes to the bill currently before the Senate.

House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), has joined with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) to introduce a bill of Iran sanctions measures they want to see added to the Johnson-Shelby Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, which is currently pending before the Senate. Reid has said there is no time to debate or consider amendments to the bill and wants to pass it as is. But Ros-Lehtinen, Sherman, and a slew of senators including Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are urging Reid to allow lawmakers to offer amendments that would strengthen the bill.

Ros-Lehtinen and Sherman's bill, the Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act, contains many of the sanctions measures that Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who is recovering from a stroke, included in his proposed amendment to the Johnson-Shelby bill. The Ros-Lehtinen Sherman bill would expand financial sanctions to all Iranian banks, authorize the president to sanction any entity that works with any Iranian bank, expand sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran beyond oil, and expand sanctions on the Iranian insurance sector.

"In particular, I urge Senate leadership to allow a version of an amendment authored by Senator Kirk to be considered by the Senate," Sherman said in Tuesday statement. "After the current district work period the Senate should pass the toughest possible Iran legislation, and it is critical that the Kirk-Sherman language be part of the bill when it leaves the Senate."

Senators come back from their "state work period" on April 16.

Last week, Ros-Lehtinen publicly called on Reid to open up the Senate bill to amendments. The Senate GOP leadership is also calling on Reid to allow limited amendments to the Johnson-Shelby bill.

Today, in a statement to The Cable, House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA) said he also supports the Kirk amendmnet.

" I support any proposal, including the Kirk amendment, to tighten sanctions on Iran that will contribute to preventing the regime from developing a nuclear weapons capability - an urgent national security priority for the United States," Berman said.

Other measures found in the Kirk amendment were included by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Robert Dold (R-FL) in a bill they introduced last week called the Iranian Energy Sector and Proliferation Sanctions Act. That bill would expand energy-sector sanctions on Iran by declaring the country a "zone of proliferation concern," thus barring any businesses or service providers from dealing with the Iranian petroleum sector in any way.

"As the Mullahs face an unprecedented level of economic pressure and international isolation, now is the time to intensify this pressure," Deutch said in a statement, referring to Iran's clerical leaders. "This legislation will put the world on notice that Iran's entire energy sector is off limits so long as this regime continues to defy the international community in pursuit of an illicit nuclear weapons program."

Last December, the House passed another Iran sanctions bill, the Iran Threat Reductions Act, which was sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen and Berman. That bill contains a host of sanctions, including another piece of the Kirk amendment that stipulates the president must investigate allegations of sanctions violations made by U.S. government organizations such as the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service, and the Energy Information Agency.

The Ros-Lehtinen Berman bill could be combined with the Johnson-Shelby bill in a House-Senate conference, if and when the Senate passes its bill. The language from these various other House bills that seek to add more Iran sanctions into the mix could be added in conference, but they have a much better chance of becoming part of the final law if they are added to the Senate bill as part of an amendment and through a vote.

Senator Reid's office told The Cable that despite the growing number of lawmakers calling for votes on measures to amend the Johnson-Shelby bill, he has no plans to alter his position.

"Sounds like enough House members to round out a research document from a Republican office like Senator Kirk's, but not enough to change Senator Reid's stance on this issue," said Reid's Communications Director Adam Jentleson.

The Obama administration has no position on the Johnson-Shelby bill and no position on the Kirk amendment, a senior administration official told The Cable. Kirk's office is hoping that by the time the Senate gets back to town, Reid will decide to open up the bill to debate.

"Senator Kirk remains committed to a bipartisan process that would allow Democrats and Republicans to come together to strengthen our sanctions against Iran," said Kirk's spokesperson Kate Dickens.