By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
September 10, 2015
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders have set a showdown vote for Thursday around 3:45 p.m. that could definitively end Republican efforts to derail President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, with the fate of the bill hanging by a handful of Democratic votes.
With a largely partisan divide over the accord — which is uniformly opposed by Republicans and also by a handful of Democrats — it was unclear whether the measure allowing the Senate to move forward on formally disapproving it had the required 60 votes.
“Let’s be clear about who is moving to end debate,” said Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the minority leader, on the Senate floor Thursday morning. “The Republican leader.”
Forty-two Democrats have come out in favor of the agreement, but a few of them could peel away and vote Thursday afternoon to end debate on the Republican resolution of disapproval, arguing that the measure deserves a final up-or-down vote. The president can afford only one defection from the ranks of his supporters to ensure the bill is filibustered.
Graphic | Lawmakers Against the Iran Nuclear Deal Twenty-three Democratic lawmakers have said they will not support President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, joining their Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate.
If two Democratic supporters of the deal join the four declared Democrats who oppose it, the resolution would almost certainly pass the Senate. The House would then have to decide whether to take it up and force a presidential veto. Mr. Obama appears to have an ample cushion in the Senate to sustain his veto.
On Wednesday, House Republicans threw another wrench into the vote by claiming that the White House had not disclosed secret side agreements on the deal, and by arguing that Congress did not actually have its agreed-upon review period. . They also declined to vote on a message to disapprove in that chamber, even though it would have easily passed.
House leaders decided that they would instead hold a vote to approve the Iran agreement to try and force Democrats to assert their support for the accord, which has divided many lawmakers who represent districts with sizable Jewish populations from their colleagues who support Mr. Obama.
With a procedural measure failing in the Senate, Mr. Obama will be free to move forward with the agreement, although …Read More