By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Sept. 1, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced they were supporting the Nuclear Iran Deal. As the afternoon wore on, word came that first Senator Bob Casey (D) of Pennsylvania, and then, to close out the afternoon, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) also came out in favor of the agreement.
The three members of the House of Representatives who said they will support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are Rep.s Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18), Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09). None of these were real surprises.
But people were quite hopeful that Casey might swim against the tide. In fact, his statement announcing his support went on for 17 pages.
Casey, like so many other politicians who say they will vote to support the deal, admits that the chances of Iran cheating are significant. He began his analysis with this understanding.
So why support it?
Casey weaves a tale punctuated by “there is no alternative,” and “our allies have decided this is the best deal.” He also cites the letter from 36 U.S. military officials endorsing it (ignoring the letter from more than 200 retired officers opposing it) and mentioned that certain Israeli military leaders support it (ignoring the universal opposition to the deal across the Israeli political spectrum, including its defense department.)
Casey concluded his statement strongly endorsing the need for the U.S. to ensure Iran understands the U.S. will take military action if Iran attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, and stating that the U.S. should aggressively work to curtail Iran’s destabilization of the region through its terror proxies and direct participation in terrorism.
His constituents should watch to see whether Casey does anything to make this happen, because it is doubtful this administration will do any such thing.
Coons told the Washington Post that he was still undecided as recently as ten days ago. But he called Vice President Joe Biden, whose Senate seat Coons now holds, and that conversation finally convinced him to support the deal.
The White House now has 32 Senators who have announced support for the agreement. It only needs one more Democrat to ensure that any congressional effort to defeat his veto of legislation opposing the deal, should he need one, will fail.
And as the numbers increase, the White House is surely beginning to hold out hope that its supporters in Congress will be able to filibuster and thereby prevent any vote against the agreement at all. Senate supporters would need 41 votes to achieve that.
Eleven Senate Democrats have still not revealed how they will vote. Opponents of the deal need each one to go their way or the agreement will be approved.
The remaining fence-sitting senators to watch include Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who is up for re-election in the fall, as is Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, and New Jersey’s Cory Booker.