House Democrats that represent some of the nation’s most-populated districts are publicly disapproving of the Iran deal for the first time, creating more problems for the Obama administration.
On Aug. 3, Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York announced her decision to vote down the deal when it makes its way to the Capitol building in six weeks, following the August recess of all lawmakers. She joins Democrat Grace Meng of New York, whose district in Queens is heavily Jewish-American, Democratic Rep. Albio Sires of New Jersey and Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas of California, the Jewish Press reported.
In her statement released on Monday, Rice questioned the Obama administration’s talking points on trying to woo over members of Congress to support and vote for the deal.
“As President Obama has stated, his actions and economic sanctions have brought Iran to the table. If that is true, and I believe it is, then why wouldn’t continued political and economic pressure improve our leverage in forcing Iran to agree to a better deal?” Rice wrote in her statement.
“And the fact that sanctions can snap back into place if Iran cheats doesn’t give me enough confidence to counter that risk," she added. "The sanctions we imposed on Iran that proved successful were only successful over time.
"No matter how quickly we can re-impose these measures in the event we catch Iran cheating, it will take years to recreate the economic pressure that we know influences their decision making."
Without Democratic support in Congress, President Obama’s Iran deal will likely fail as only one Republican in the Senate (Jeff Flake of Arizona) has indicated any consideration of voting in favor of the deal. Other Democratic Senators facing tough re-elections in 2018, such as Michael Bennett of Colorado, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, are also considering voting against the deal, the Washington Post noted.
However, no other politician is as closely being watched concerning the deal than Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. Considered the replacement to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada in January 2017, Schumer’s support or withdrawal of this deal could make or break his stance in the Democratic Party. Moreover, Schumer also represents a large Jewish-American constituency who may vote for another Democrat in a primary face off or a Republican challenger when Schumer runs for re-election again in 2016.
The stress of the deal may be beginning to weigh on Schumer’s shoulders. The New York Post reported that Schumer “lost it” during a meeting with 60 Jewish leaders last week.
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