With members of Congress set to return to the nation’s capital next week after a month long vacation, the main issue on the schedule is whether or not President Barack Obama’s Iran deal will receive enough support from the leader’s own party to survive bipartisan opposition. So far, it appears that Obama will be able to claim victory.
Thirty Democratic Senators have agreed to block a Republican effort to override an expected presidential veto of an initial vote on the deal, according to Vox.com.
Republicans in both chambers will likely have the support to vote down an authorization allowing the Obama administration to remove economic sanctions from Iran. This move would be in exchange for Iran ceasing its nuclear weapon development.
Obama has stated that if Republicans manage to vote down the deal, he will veto the decision. If this veto takes place, the Senate will need a two-thirds majority vote to override the veto. Thus Obama needs 34 Democratic Senators to block a two-thirds majority.
Two Democrats – Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York – have said that they will not vote in favor of the Iran deal, as both politicians represent large Jewish communities in their home states who disagree with the agreement. For Schumer, the “no” vote has arguably hurt his chances of becoming the next Senate Democratic Leader in January 2017, once current leader Harry Reid of Nevada retires.
After Schumer announced his disapproval on Aug. 6, it was unclear if other moderate Democrats would follow his lead. However, moderates like Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri said that they will vote in favor of the deal.
Even in the House of Representatives, Republicans are still far from achieving enough Democratic support to block any further movement of the deal. Of the 44 Democratic votes needed, only 14 have announced their plans to side with Republicans.
However, the Democratic Party is having a difficult time embracing Obama’s deal. For example, The Democratic National Committee could not support a resolution to support the peace agreement during a meeting in Minneapolis over the weekend. DNC leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida -- whose district is largely Jewish -- prevented the resolution from being considered during the meeting, according to Fox News.
Of the 14 remaining Democratic Senators, two come from Republican friendly states – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Obama, however, can likely count on votes from senators representing states that he easily won during his two campaigns. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Maria Cantwell of Washington are all likely “yes” votes.
For now, it appears that Obama's controversial Iran deal will be able to survive Congress.
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