White House fight to preserve Iran deal is won, Cardin says

Key Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the numbers will break for the president, but personally remains undecided.

September 1, 2015 19:06
1 minute read.

President Obama and Vice President Biden Deliver a Statement on Iran. (photo credit: WHITE HOUSE)


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WASHINGTON -- By the end of the week, the White House will succeed in securing the number of Senate votes necessary to preserve the Iran nuclear accord through a vote of disapproval, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said on Tuesday.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaking to constituents at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said a 32nd senator would endorse the deal by the end of the day. Pennsylvania's Senator Bob Casey, Jr. endorsed the agreement shortly after the event.

"The president will have at least 32 committed Democrats on his side by the end of the day," Cardin said. "That number looks like it will clearly get to the 34 number by the end of the week so it looks pretty clear the president is going to have the support to sustain a veto."

Before the event, Cardin granted an interview to a local radio station in which he bemoaned the fateful decision ahead. Congress will debate and vote on the deal later this month, near the end of a September 17 review period.

Iran is given, under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action announced on July 14, "the green light to enrich at a pretty high level, legally," Cardin said, "dangerously close to breakout." The senator said he would announce his decision shortly.

US President Barack Obama needs only one third of one house of Congress to preserve the deal through a vote, and hopes to prevent a vote altogether by earning the support of 41 senators. That would allow Democrats to filibuster debate on the resolution.

Thus far, only two Senate Democrats have announced opposition to the deal: Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York.

In an 8,000 word explanation of his vote, Casey said the decision was the most difficult of his career, but that he has concluded the JCPOA was the best course for the United States and Israel in the "short term and the long term."

Another Democrat said to be on the fence, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, is expected to announce his decision in a speech at 2:00 Eastern Standard Time.

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