Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced her support for the Iran nuclear energy deal on Sept. 2, giving the Obama administration the 34 votes needed to block a Republican-led attempt at halting the legislation.
“Some have suggested we reject this deal and impose unilateral sanctions to force Iran back to the table. But maintaining or stepping up sanctions will only work if the sanction coalition holds together,” Mikulski said in a written statement.
“It’s unclear if the European Union, Russia, China, India and others would continue sanctions if Congress rejects this deal. At best, sanctions would be porous, or limited to unilateral sanctions by the U.S.”
Mikulski, the longest serving female U.S. senator in history, is retiring at the end of her current term, in January 2019, CNN noted.
The Maryland senator’s decision comes just one day after Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania both announced their support for the deal.
While the Democrats have now secured the Iran deal’s future, another effort is building to create a filibuster-proof minority during the vote. Seven more Democratic senators need to support the deal to achieve this feat; if this happens, Obama will not have to use a veto.
“Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president’s veto to be upheld,” Secretary of State John Kerry, who was the main negotiator of the Iran deal, said on CNN. “That is not satisfactory for us. We do want to try to go further. We’ll continue to persuade.”