WASHINGTON -- Democratic senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mark Warner of Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota announced support for the Iran nuclear deal
on Thursday, inching the White House closer to a key Senate threshold that would allow them to block a vote on the accord.
Booker's endorsement was tepid: "It is better to support a deeply flawed deal, for the alternative is worse," he said in a lengthy written statement on the agreement. The New Jersey senator said he saw little choice in the matter.
"With the JCPOA, we have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached, leaving our nation to choose between two imperfect, dangerous and uncertain options," he added.
Iran deal in a nutshell
And Warner's endorsement was preempted by the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, who announced the Virginia senator's decision in his daily briefing with reporters. He had been told of Warner's decision before the briefing, he said.
"While I choose to support the deal, I am not satisfied with it as a final measure and will support efforts to shore-up its weaker points," Warner said in his statement. "That includes clarifying that Congress retains the ability to pass sanctions legislation against Iran for their regime’s numerous other destabilizing activities including support for terrorism, and that there is no ‘grandfather clause’ to shield foreign firms in the event Iran violates the deal and the United States and its partners re-impose sanctions."
In total, 37 senators now support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the deal. Only seven senators remain undecided, and opponents need four of those in order to proceed past debate and onto a vote on a resolution of disapproval scheduled for later this month.
All seven of those undecided senators are Democrats.
"It is my judgment that this deal is our best chance at preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and keeping Americans safe," Heitkamp said in her statement. "It isn’t a perfect deal, but it is a good one. Americans deserve to see this deal through.”