Three undecided Democratic senators on Tuesday came out in support of the nuclear agreement with Iran, meaning President Barack Obama will avoid the spectacle of a veto fight with Republicans in Congress over the deal.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) all announced their support for the deal on Tuesday. It brought the total of Democratic senators supporting the agreement to 41, meaning that Senate Democrats have enough votes to block a resolution of disapproval on the deal from moving forward in the Senate.
Obama already had secured enough support from Senate Democrats to sustain a promised veto override. The final rush of support means he will likely not have to veto any measure disapproving of the nuclear deal. But some supporters of the deal were still cautious about declaring victory, amid a push by the deal’s opponents to press for a final vote on the resolution of disapproval.
“The fundamental question for me is what this agreement means for the prospects of Iran getting a nuclear bomb,” Wyden said in a statement of his support. “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.”
In a statement, Blumenthal said that “using diplomacy, not military force” was the best option now to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He said he would co-sponsor legislation with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), a Democrat who is opposing the deal, to “snap back” sanctions on Iran if it cheats on the agreement.
Peters, a freshman senator, said no decision in his term thus far has been more consequential.
“Despite my serious reservations, I will reluctantly vote against a motion of disapproval because 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. He added that he would support the reinstatement of sanctions on Iran in the event the country cheats on the deal.
The count of support comes amid a furious push by the White House, progressive groups, and other supporters of the deal to rally sceptical Democrats behind it. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said Tuesday that he will insist on a 60-vote threshold to pass the resolution of disapproval.
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