Obama Locking Up Votes for Iran Deal 09/02 06:27
President Barack Obama is just one Senate vote shy of being able to declare
success on the Iran nuclear deal and cement a foreign policy legacy.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is just one Senate vote shy of
being able to declare success on the Iran nuclear deal and cement a foreign
Senate support for the deal now stands at 33 votes, thanks to announcements
Tuesday from Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware.
Once supporters reach 34 votes, they would be able to uphold Obama's
expected veto of GOP legislation aimed at blocking the Iran deal. That
disapproval resolution is set for a vote later this month.
Secretary of State John Kerry is sending a letter to all members of Congress
outlining U.S. security commitments to Israel and the Gulf Arab states in light
of the nuclear deal. The letter comes as Kerry prepares to deliver a major
policy speech Wednesday in Philadelphia that focuses on how the international
agreement makes the U.S. and its allies safer and how the deal is being
mischaracterized by some opponents.
With opposition to the agreement failing to get traction on the Democratic
side, supporters may even be able to muster the 41 votes needed to block the
resolution from passing in the first place, sparing Obama from having to use
his veto pen. That would require eight of the 11 remaining undeclared senators
to decide in favor of the deal.
"This agreement will substantially constrain the Iranian nuclear program for
its duration, and compared with all realistic alternatives, it is the best
option available to us at this time," Casey said in a statement. In remarks at
the University of Delaware, Coons said: "I will support this agreement despite
its flaws because it is the better strategy for the United States to lead a
coalesced global community in containing the spread of nuclear weapons."
Republicans in Congress and running for president unanimously oppose the
deal, which aims to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from
economic sanctions. The Israeli government is vehemently against it, contending
that concessions made to Iran could empower that country, which has sworn to
destroy Israel. But critics have failed to use Congress' summer recess to turn
the tide against the agreement, despite a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign
funded by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
Only two Democratic senators have come out against the deal --- Chuck
Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey --- while in recent weeks
undeclared Democratic senators, even from red states, have broken in favor one
Even if Congress were able to pass the disapproval resolution, it might not
be enough to stop the deal, which was agreed to among Iran, the United States,
Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. In July, the U.N. Security Council
unanimously endorsed the nuclear deal, approving a resolution that would lift
the international sanctions on Iran in 90 days.