Rep. Howard Berman of Caifornia, shown at a conference in Washington June 2, 2008. (UPI Photo/Alexis C. Glenn) | License Photo
CHICAGO, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A dispute over who should get credit for a bill requiring the president to crack down on firms doing business with Iran is campaign rhetoric, observers suggest.
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., says he got the sanctions bill signed into law this year, but its sponsor, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., called the claim an "exaggeration," the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Berman supports Kirk's Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, in Illinois' U.S. Senate race to be decided next month.
The bill requires the president to use his office to enforce sanctions against Iran, the report said.
"We didn't even look at his (Kirk's) legislation at the time," said Berman, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."
In a meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board last month, Kirk said, "This legislation eventually became Howard Berman's legislation … he had my full approval in moving that forward under his badge."
He further claimed ownership of the bill on his Web site, the newspaper said.
"The Kirk Amendment to end U.S. financing for companies that deliver gasoline to Iran passed the House," he said on his Web site.
Berman did give Kirk some kudos.
"There is no doubt that Mark was a committed person on this idea, which wasn't his idea, it was out there in the press," Berman said. "He introduced legislation in the previous Congress on refined petroleum products … he did chair a group I occasionally went to, the Iran Working Group."