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Thirteen Senators Who Could Make History

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Reprinted from Wallwritings

From Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator Chuck Schumer
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Most U.S. media attention is focused this summer on Donald Trump and the latest outbreak of domestic violence in movie theaters. But look carefully at the internet and you will find Roland Nikles reporting for Mondoweiss on a story of far-ranging significance.

He finds Peter Beinart in Ha'aretz explaining the pending congressional vote on the Obama-Kerry negotiated Iranian nuclear deal:

"Israel and the United States (and the other members of the P5+1) have conflicting interests at stake when it comes to the Iran deal. Meanwhile, many in Congress are behaving like they represent Benjamin Netanyahu instead of the American people.

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"The P5+1 have negotiated with Iran in order to take an Iranian nuclear bomb off the table indefinitely, and to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region.

"Israel and the Saudis have a different interest. For Israel and the Saudis, the primary goal has been to keep sanctions in place indefinitely in order to cripple Iran as a regional competitor."

In an analysis for Forward, Nathan Guttman, writes: "Thirteen U.S. Senators is all President Obama needs to ensure that the nuclear deal with Iran does not get derailed by Congress."

Do the math:

There are currently 54 Republican senators, all of whom are on record to oppose the deal. The Republicans will need only 13 Democrats to cross party lines and vote against the deal to reach the 67 votes required for an override.

To prevent that veto override, President Obama needs 34 Democratic senators to support him; otherwise the deal collapses.

Among the 34 senators Obama needs to sustain the deal, the Republican majority needs to pick off a total of 13 senators to vote against the diplomatic option. If they succeed and successfully add 13 more Democrats to their side, the deal is dead.

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Nathan Guttman gives the details:

"With Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate, Congress is likely to reject the Iran deal. Not one Republican has expressed support for the deal. But that is only the first round. Obama has already made clear his intention to veto any legislation rejecting the Iran deal.

"If that happens, Republican leaders will have to come up with a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override Obama's veto. Most analysts focus on the Senate, where Republicans are expected to have a tougher time getting this super-majority.

"There are currently 54 GOP senators, so Republicans will need 13 Democrats to cross party lines and vote against the deal to reach the 67 votes required for an override.

"Political analysts have identified between 14 and 28 Democratic senators in the undecided column.

"These include security hawks such as Virginia's Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, or Michigan's Gary Peters, as well as others who have been skeptical about Iran's intentions from the get-go, and several senators with significant Jewish constituencies, including Florida's Ben Nelson, Cory Booker of New Jersey and New York's Chuck Schumer, who is currently viewed as the biggest prize on the Senate floor."

Guttman acknowledges that the security hawks in the Democratic caucus, all of whom have strong emotional ties to Israel, are dead set against the deal, falling in line behind Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This leaves 13 undecided Democratic senators who must choose to support the Democratic president. If any one of these senators goes to the Israeli side, the deal collapses.

Guttman looks at the 13 undecided senators now under the spotlight.

"Advocates believe that Schumer's decision, thanks to his senior position in the Democratic Party (he is slated to take over as majority leader next year) and to his standing in the Jewish community, could play a significant role in influencing other undecided Democrats."

The 13, including Schumer, will be watched carefully in the weeks leading to the final vote on the deal. All of them are essential to sustain a final Obama veto of the Congress' attempt to scuttle the deal.

Below are the 13 U.S. Democratic senators identified by Forward, as undecided on how they will vote on the Iran diplomatic deal. Some of them have not commented on the deal, others are studying it.

Outside these 13, other Democratic senators could yet emerge to support President Obama and the deal. That, however, does not appear likely.

The Democratic undecided senators below are identified by their state. The Forward offers their current position on the vote. All are needed to sustain Obama. Voters in their states still have time to communicate to Senate offices locally or in Washington.

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(Image by The Forward)   Permission   Details   DMCA

(Image by The Forward)   Permission   Details   DMCA

(Image by The Forward)   Permission   Details   DMCA

(Image by The Forward)   Permission   Details   DMCA


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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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