Iran Deal Gathers Support From Two More in Senate, Five More in House. Republicans Focus on Optics
by Meteor Blades –
Over the past three days, Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Carper of Delaware joined the other Democratic senators who support the Iran nuclear agreement. That brings to 31 the number of senators standing behind President Obama on the deal that six world powers negotiated with the Islamic Republic to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions.That’s just three short of what’s needed to sustain a presidential veto of any Republican-initiated resolution of disapproval of the agreement. Two Democrats—Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez—have declared their opposition. Merkley’s and Carper’s support leaves 13 Democratic senators still undeclared. At least one more supporter is expected to announce support for the agreement this week, and it wouldn’t be surprising if several did.
The Obama administration has in the past week been lobbying to get 41 senators to support the agreement. That’s what’s needed to filibuster any vote on a resolution of disapproval. With that many backing the deal, no such resolution would even reach the president’s desk. But that would mean getting 10 of the 13 undeclared senators on board, possible but difficult.
Here’s Merkley’s statement. An excerpt:
[…] I believe the agreement, titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is the best available strategy to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. […]No foreign policy choice comes with guarantees. The future, whether we approve or reject the deal, is unknowable and carries risks. But the agreement offers us better prospects for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and more tools and leverage to ensure that outcome.
In a Friday op-ed column in the Delaware News Journal, Carper wrote:
Critics argue that America should reject this deal and negotiate a better one. Good luck. Earlier this month, several of my colleagues and I met with representatives of our five negotiating partners. They told us bluntly that if Congress kills this deal, the broad coalition of countries imposing sanctions on Iran would collapse. These global sanctions were the leverage that forced Iran to the negotiating table, and the threat of re-imposing them will help keep Iran honest. If Congress rejects this deal now, a better one will not take its place, they declared. Instead, America’s leverage would be lost, along with our best chance to address this threat peacefully. In effect, they urged us to learn from Arafat’s mistake and take yes for an answer.
More analysis and the whip counts of Senate and House votes can be found below the fold.Join us in urging undeclared senators to support the Iran nuclear agreement.
While a successful filibuster would mean a major victory for Obama, Republicans are already working on an attack plan for an up-or-down vote. Julian Hattem at The Hill writes:
Opponents of the agreement, however, believe Senate Democrats will pay a political cost.“Democrats will be setting themselves up for a further political hit if they deny the people the opportunity—the people meaning members of Congress—to vote on it,” said Allen Roth, the president of the hawkish Secure America Now, which is staunchly opposed to the agreement.
“I think it’ll be handing a political gift to the Republicans.”
Greg Sargent at the Plum Line writes:
As I reported last week, top Democrats are also privately worried that if it becomes clear that sustaining the veto is a certainty, some undecided Dems might feel freed up to oppose it for their own political reasons — making that override fight more likely. And that’s why supporters are urging those undecided Democrats to appreciate that their vote for the deal is still needed—even if it’s clear that a veto would be sustained—because it could help avert the consequences that would come with a veto-override battle.
Only one senator, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia is counted by The Hill in its whip count as “leaning yes.”Here are the 12 Democrats who have not yet declared how they stand or which way they are leaning:
Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.)
Sen. Chris Coons (Del.)
Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.); Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.)
Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)
Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.)
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (Pa.)
Sen. Mark Warner (Va.)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
Five more House Democrats declared themselves in favor of the nuclear deal over the weekend, bringing the total to 79, according to a whip count by The Hill. Those newly declaring they are in favor are Rep. Julia Brownley (Calif.).
No new House Democrats have declared themselves in opposition to agreement. Rep. Loretta Sanchez has moved from “leaning no” to undecided.
Here is the list of 13 representatives said to be “leaning yes”:
Rep. Terri Sewell (Ala.)
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.)
Rep. Robin Kelly (Ill.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.)
Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)
Rep. Joaquín Castro (Texas); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas)
Rep. Bobby Scott (Va.)
Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.); Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.); Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)
And here are the 80 who are undecided or whose positions are unclear:
Rep. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.); Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.); Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)
Rep. Peter Aguilar (Calif.); Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.); Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.); Rep. Tony Cardenas (Calif.); Rep. Judy Chu (Calif.); Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.); Rep. Janice Hahn (Calif.); Rep. Jared Huffman (Calif.); Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.); Rep. Grace Napolitano (Calif.); Rep. Raul Ruiz (Calif.); Rep. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.); and Rep. Norma Torres (Calif.)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.); Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.)
Rep. John Carney (Del.)
Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.); Rep. Kathy Castor (Fla.); Rep. Lois Frankel (Fla.); Rep. Gwen Graham (Fla.); Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.); Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.); Rep. Frederica Wilson (Fla.).
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii); Rep. Mark Takai (Hawaii)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.); Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.); Rep. Daniel Lipinski (Ill.); Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.); Rep. Bobby Rush (Ill.)
Rep. Pete Visclosky (Ind.)
Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.); Rep. John Delaney (Md.); Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.); Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger (Md.); Rep. John Sarbanes (Md.)
Rep. Bill Keating (Mass.); Rep. Joseph Kennedy (Mass.); Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.)
Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.)
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.)
Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.)
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.); Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (N.Y.); Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.); Rep. Brian Higgins (N.Y.); Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.); Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.); Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.); Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.)
Rep. Dina Titus (Nev.)
Rep. Alma Adams (N.C.)
Rep. Joyce Beatty (Ohio); Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio); Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio)
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.); Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.)
Rep. Robert Brady (Pa.); Rep. Matthew Cartwright (Pa.); Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.)
Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.); Rep. Jim Langevin (R.I.)
Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas); Rep. Al Green (Texas); Rep. Gene Green (Texas); Rep. Marc Veasey (Texas); Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas)
Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.)
Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.)
Thirteen House Democrats have declared themselves opposed to the agreement and two are leaning no—Alan Grayson (Fla.) and Brad Ashford (Neb.)
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos