Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced support for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal today, sealing a win for the White House to prevent Republican disapproval.
“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime,” Mikulski said in a statement. “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb. For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal. However, Congress must also reaffirm our commitment to the safety and security of Israel.”
According to reports, her support brings the number of senators in support of the measures to 34—the number required by the Constitution to sustain an expected veto of a Republican resolution to shut down the deal.
A majority of the House and Senate are set to vote against the agreement, but supporters of the plan that seeks to weaken Iran’s nuclear weapons program are also hoping to get the 41 votes needed for a filibuster and prevent opposition from getting to a final vote in the Senate.
Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing support for the plan. “Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president’s veto to be upheld,” Kerry told CNN. “That is not satisfactory for us. We do want to try to go further. We’ll continue to persuade.”
Opponents of the deal say it includes sanctions relief for Iran that can negatively impact other nations, particularly U.S.-ally Israel, and concerns about the deal’s lack of definitive plans to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Reports also indicate that 10 Senate Democrats who have not yet made their opinion public remain, including some who face difficult re-election races and others who serve in states with large anti-Iran deal constituencies.
If the White House can garner support from seven of those ten, the administration will be able to prevent the resolution of disapproval from going into effect and shift the first Senate vote, which is set to happen Sept. 8.