Iran nuclear deal close to clearing last hurdle as more Senate Democrats announce support

“In the U.S. Senate, the president will have at least thirty-two committed Democrats on his side by the end today [Tuesday] and it looks like we will clearly get to the thirty-four number by the end of the week,” added Cardin, who is yet to declared his own position. “So it looks pretty clear that the president is going to have the support to sustain a veto.”

Only two Democrats in the Senate— Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey — have come out publicly against the deal. The two senators have large Jewish constituencies, and were critical of the manner in which the administration conducted the negotiations. Both senators, however, have not been actively involved in trying to persuade fellow Democrats to reject the agreement, and their position appears to reflect political realities in their home states.

Cardin said the level of lobbying by outside groups for against the agreement had been “aggressive” and criticized the vitriol accompanying the lobbying effort.

“It’s been intense,” he told the Guardian. “Most [of it] is healthy but there have been some people on both sides who have gone further than is useful.”

Congress has until 17 September to review the deal. Even if both the Senate and House vote against accepting the deal, a presidential veto would allow the administration to move forward and implement to deal.

The only way to override a presidential veto is by a vote of two-thirds of the members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. The support of thirty-four senators means that a presidential veto cannot be overridden.

“If we can’t get two thirds of the vote, then under the rules of the game — the rules called the Constitution of the United States — then the deal goes forward,” Cardin said. “And at that point, it’s critically important for Congress to rally behind the president so that he can carry it out the best that he can.”

Even with his veto nearly assured, the president may yet not need to use it at all. The Guardian notes that with the growing number of Democrats who in recent days have come out to support the Iran deal, there is a possibility that the Republican majority in the Senate – at fifty-four Senators — may fall short of even passing a vote of disapproval, thus making a presidential veto unnecessary.

Sixty senators would be required bring debate to a close and pass the motion of disapproval, meaning that if forty-one Democrats come out in support of the deal, the president will not have to use the veto at all.