Special to News Talk Florida Washington -President Barack Obama will have the votes in Congress to prevent an overriding of his Iran nuclear deal after securing the votes of Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) and Chris Coons (Del.) on Tuesday. The President now has 33 Senate Democrats to back the deal, leaving the White House just one vote shy of denying Republicans the two-thirds majority they would need to override a veto.
The key commitment here came from Sen. Coons’s who stance to back President Obama is likely to have resonance with the few remaining undecided Democrats. As an outspoken member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he expressed grave concerns about the deal before deciding any alternative would be far worse.
Coons told the press that he has spoken with President Obama, Vice President Biden and other members of the administration within the past 10 days, and gotten them to agree to a handful of measures including increasing military support for Israel, fully funding the International Atomic Energy Agency and briefing Congress on how it plans to combat Iran’s support for terrorism.
Earlier, Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, predicted the White House would now reach the magic number of 34 senators – needed to prevent Congress overriding a presidential veto – by the weekend.
“The numbers in Congress are looking pretty close to favoring the president,” he told students at Johns Hopkins university in Baltimore on Tuesday morning.
“In the US Senate, the president will have at least 32 committed Democrats on his side by the end today and it looks like we will clearly get to the 34 number by the end of the week,” added Cardin, who has not yet declared his own position. “So it looks pretty clear that the president is going to have the support to sustain a veto.”
Under the terms of an oversight process agreed by Cardin and the foreign relations chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tn), Congress has until 17 September to review the deal.
Even if both Senate and House pass a motion of disapproval, however, it can still be vetoed by the president, who retains the right to conduct international negotiations. Only a vote of two-thirds of the members of both the Senate and House of Representatives can override a presidential veto, which is why the support of 34 senators marks the assurance the deal will pass.
Despite the continuing battle on Capitol Hill, there was also growing recognition, even among some accord opponents, that the other nations — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and especially Iran — would be unwilling to renegotiate the agreement even if Congress formally rejected it.
Obama was determined to prevent Congress from derailing the nascent agreement, warning of a “historic mistake” that would do permanent damage to the U.S.’s credibility abroad.
The White House mounted an intense lobbying campaign this summer to win support for the deal. The goal was to secure enough Democratic votes to prevent Republicans from amassing a veto-proof majority against the agreement.
The president has gotten personally involved, speaking with more than 100 lawmakers in individual or small-group settings since the deal was reached, according to a White House official.
That effort has largely been a success. During the August recess, dozens of Democratic lawmakers declared that they back the deal, blunting critics’ efforts to build broad bipartisan opposition against it.
When the Senate returns from its August recess after Labor Day, it will vote on a resolution disapproving the Iran deal.
With that measure virtually guaranteed to be defeated — whether by filibuster or presidential veto — it removes the final major hurdle standing in the way of the deal being implemented.
On Oct. 18, a date known as adoption day, the parties will begin taking steps to put the agreement into place.