Ahead of Trump’s Rally, Obama Gets Enough Votes To Block GOP’s Rejection of Iran Nuclear Deal
A day ahead of Trump's anti-Iran rally Obama wins enough votes to block a vote on a disapproval resolution.
A day ahead of a GOPalooza of presidential candidates and supporters, led by Republicans 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump and fellow candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the White House won enough support Tuesday to block a vote on a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program -- an agreement Congress was expected to reject.
A day ahead of a GOPalooza of presidential candidates and supporters, led by Republicans 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump and fellow candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the White House won enough support Tuesday to block a vote on a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program — an agreement Congress was expected to reject.
Democratic Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut all announced they would support the controversial accord that world powers struck with Tehran in July. This gives President Barack Obama backing from 41 members of his own party, which means the White House has enough votes to filibuster a GOP resolution disapproving of it. Now, Obama’s earlier-won threat to veto this motion is moot: Because Republicans can’t vote on it to pass it, it will never reach the president’s desk.
Peters said he had “serious reservations” about the deal but reluctantly pledged to support it anyway. “I believe that doing so will protect the credibility of the United States to hold Iran accountable to adhere to every single obligation” in the agreement, Peters said in a statement. “But if Iran fails to meet its international obligations under this accord, I will support the immediate reinstatement of congressional sanctions, and I will encourage my colleagues in Congress to do the same.”
Wyden added: “This agreement with the duplicitous and untrustworthy Iranian regime falls short of what I had envisioned; however I have decided the alternatives are even more dangerous.”
This isn’t likely to temper criticisms from Trump and Cruz. They can still use their rally, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon on the West Lawn of the Capitol, to call the deal “very dangerous” and “horrible” for the United States, while “perhaps catastrophic” for Israel, as Trump has done in the past.
For his part, Cruz has said the deal would make the United States “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.” He and Trump are expected to be joined at the rally by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Tea Party Republicans.
The preventative Democratic defense, secured Tuesday, isn’t likely to lessen attention to the GOP gathering, which like, other Trump events, will be widely covered in the news media. Since Cruz convinced Trump to join him, popular conservatives like Beck and Palin said they would attend. The rally is also sponsored by The Center for Security Policy and the Zionist Organization of America.
The decisions by Peters, Wyden, and Blumenthal came on the morning Congress reconvened after its summer recess. A fourth Senate Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said Tuesday he would not support the deal with Iran. He joined Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York, who all also oppose the deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States.
For months, Obama’s allies have been trying to convince lawmakers to support the accord. The president hasn’t won over a majority of lawmakers, but, in this case, a sizable minority is enough to give him the deal many consider a cornerstone of his legacy.
The Obama administration’s original goal was to get 34 Senate Democrats to say “yes” to the deal, enough to stop opponents from overriding a presidential veto. He accomplished this last week.
Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
David Francis was a staff writer at Foreign Policy from 2014-2017.
More from Foreign Policy
Chinese Hospitals Are Housing Another Deadly Outbreak
Authorities are covering up the spread of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.
Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage
The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.
The West’s False Choice in Ukraine
The crossroads is not between war and compromise, but between victory and defeat.
Washington wants to get tough on China, and the leaders of the House China Committee are in the driver’s seat.