(Final Breaking Update) Iran Nuclear Deal: The President ‘Clinches’ the Deal
Senate Democrats delivered a major victory to President Obama on Thursday when they blocked a Republican resolution to reject a six-nation nuclear accord with Iran, ensuring that the landmark deal will take effect without a veto showdown between Congress and the White House.
A procedural vote fell short of the number needed to break a Democratic filibuster. It culminated hours of debate on the Senate floor and capped months of discord since the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China announced the agreement with Iran in July.
Debate over the accord divided Democrats between their loyalties to the president and their constituents, especially Jewish ones, animated the antiwar movement on the left and exposed the waning power of the Israeli lobbying force that spent millions to prevent the accord.
With three more Democrats — Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Gary Peters of Michigan — coming out in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama has sealed a victory on the Iran agreement.
With the three additional votes, Democrats have the 41 votes they need to block an expected GOP resolution of disapproval on the deal.
The only undecided Democrat in the Senate now is Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) predicted in a speech Tuesday morning that the Iran deal would stand, citing what he described as support from an “overwhelming majority” in his caucus.
Reid has proposed skipping a vote on stopping a filibuster against the disapproval resolution if Republicans agree to set the threshold for final passage at 60 votes, the same as for cloture.
Sen. Chris Coons (Del.), a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, has called for holding an up-or-down vote on the disapproval measure.
“I think it would be really regrettable if we didn’t ultimately go to the floor and cast our votes for or against this deal,” Coons said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Ari Morgenstern, communications director of Christians for Israel, argued that opponents of the deal still may have enough support to move a disapproval resolution through the Senate, citing Coons’s statement.
It appears unlikely, however, that Coons would help hand Obama an embarrassing setback because of a quibble over procedure.
Read more here.
Today’s declarations of support for the Iran nuclear agreement by New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota bring the count of Senators backing the deal up to 37.
The Wall Street Journal — not a Liberal rag:
Mr. Booker’s support for the deal is a blow to Senate Republicans who need at least four more Democrats to vote with them if they want to pass a resolution disapproving the deal this month. Mr. Booker’s backing of the accord makes it more likely that the Democrats will be able to block the resolution on a procedural vote.
Democrats are getting closer to the number “41.”
Read more here.
With Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s declaration that the Iran nuclear agreement is the best way to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Democrats in the U.S. Senate now have the needed 34 votes to sustain a presidential veto of what is expected to be a Congressional resolution of disapproval of the deal, thereby assuring the President “Obama a major foreign policy victory,” according to the Washington Post.
With the announcements that Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) have decided to support the Iran nuclear deal, “President Obama is [now] within one vote of securing the biggest diplomatic victory of his presidency,” so reports the Washington Post.
Coons revealed his decision in an exclusive interview with The Washington Post while Casey stated his decision in a memo to the Philadelphia Enquirer.
From the Post’s Paul Kane:
Coons’s decision… delivered a powerful blow to opponents of the plan because the Delaware Democrat had previously voiced some of the deepest skepticism about the controversial deal…
Coons reached his decision after many weeks of deliberation that included long talks with top administration officials — including his political mentor, Vice President Biden — and an exchange of letters with President Obama that codified the assurances he received about the pact’s implementation.
Meanwhile at The Philadelphia Enquirer, on Casey’s decision:
“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 wrote in a 17-page, more than 8,000 word analysis he shared with The Inquirer. He called it “one of the most difficult decisions of my public career.”
Obama needs only one more Senator to sustain what is expected to be his veto of a resolution of disapproval by the House and Senate — a “threshold” the Post believes Obama should “have no problem reaching.”
But, the Post adds, there is a growing possibility that if 41 Senators support the Iran deal, “they could band together and filibuster the resolution, preventing the president from having to issue a veto.”
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