The threat that Sen. Chuck Schumer will vote “no” on the Obama administration’s nuke deal with Iran has created alarm within the Democratic ranks.
After word got out that New York’s senior senator was planning to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement, Schumer told the press that he wouldn’t be putting pressure on other Democrats to follow his lead. To date, he stands alone, though several representatives are getting off the fence and voicing their opposition to the deal.
Last week, Schumer posted his basic objections to the deal. “I’ve spent the last three weeks carefully studying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he explained in a statement. “I’ve decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.
“I examined this deal in three parts: nuclear restrictions on Iran in the first 10 years, nuclear restrictions after 10 years and non-nuclear components and consequences,” he added. “In each case, I’ve asked: Are we better off with the agreement or without it?
“In the first 10 years, there are serious weaknesses. First, inspections are not ‘anywhere, anytime’; the 24-day delay before we can inspect is troubling. More troubling is the fact that the U.S. can’t demand inspections unilaterally, and the ‘snapback sanctions’ provisions seem cumbersome and difficult to use.”
On the timeline given to Iran regarding restriction on nuclear development, Schumer was firmly opposed. He said the agreement would allow Iran, a country that many Republicans believe cannot be trusted, to be a nuclear threshold “state with the blessing of the world community.”
At the heart of Schumer’s disagreement is his concern for the safety of Israel, which he mentioned toward the end of his statement. “For years, Iran has used force and terrorism to expand its influence in the Middle East, actively supporting military or terrorist actions in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Gaza,” he said. For the most part, no matter the time restrictions, “we would be better off without the deal,” he said.
The vote on the deal is a month away, and Schumer appears to be living up to his promise not to lobby fellow Democrats, although that hasn’t removed the possibility of his explaining his opposition.
A disapproval of the resolution seems to be on track to gather the 60 votes required to overcome any Democratic filibuster. But the bottom line belongs to President Barack Obama and whether he can get 34 senators to his side and thereby avoid a possible veto.
Much hangs in the balance, and Obama, like Schumer, is making his calls, too, and we will soon know who answers to what calls and how.