“They basically said unanimously this is as good a deal as you could get and we are moving ahead with it”, recalled Senator Chris Coons, the Delaware Democrat who lent crucial support to the deal this week despite some reservations. So far, 226 House members – 210 Republicans and 16 Democrats – have announced their opposition to the nuclear deal, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
We must be ready to double down our efforts on the remaining 7 Senators to ensure we seal this deal without a veto.
“No deal is ideal, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime”, Mikulski said in a statement.
To Senator Leahy this is a pretty clear-cut issue: support a deal that has the framework of a plan to monitor Iran’s nuclear program in the future or reject it and risk that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the next few years. Iran’s supreme leader has traditionally had the final say on all important matters, but on Thursday Khamenei said MPs should decide on the deal. A vote of disapproval, however, could signal Congress’ readiness to introduce new sanctions at the risk of causing Tehran – and other governments – to abandon the accord and blame the US for the failure.
If Obama can push through the decision without the need to overrule congress, he can claim a stronger mandate when history judges the 44 president’s watershed decision on the country’s long-running Iran problem.
“Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president’s veto to be upheld”, Secretary of State John Kerry said after Mikulski’s announcement.
Higgins said he is concerned about one possible side effect of the deal: that with its economy improving as sanctions are lifted, Iran could boost its support for terrorist proxies.
Under a law co-written by Cardin and signed by Obama in May, Congress has until September 17 to vote on a “resolution of disapproval” of the nuclear agreement, announced on July 14 between the United States, five other world powers and Tehran.
Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said that soon after debating the Iran deal, Congress will likely pass a 10-year extension of the “Iran Sanctions Act”, which expires at the end of 2016. “He’s held himself to a high standard, and he settled for a lot less than the best in supporting this deal today”. “We are telling Iran that it can’t have a nuclear weapon period”, he said.
But the Pentagon chief said the military option was still on the table and, if called for, such action would be “more effective” as a result of the agreement.