- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced his opposition Thursday night to President Obama’s deal to halt Iran’s nuclear program, dealing a major symbolic blow to the White House, which is struggling to find enough support to preserve the deal in the face of congressional opposition.

“I believe the vote to disapprove is the right one,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat and the man likely to lead Senate Democrats come 2017, said in a web post that appeared to dent the momentum Mr. Obama’s supporters had built this week.

He directly challenged Mr. Obama’s rhetoric earlier this week, when the president said those who oppose his deal are either lying to the public or else secretly — and wrongly — support going to war.

Mr. Schumer said he does not believe war is the answer, but said he doubts the agreement Mr. Obama negotiated does enough to change Iran’s behavior.

“Under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power,” Mr. Schumer said. “Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.”

Mr. Schumer said he does give credit to the president and to Secretary of State John Kerry for trying to find a diplomatic solution, and for bringing other international partners to the table to present a united front against Iran.

But he said there are too many holes in the agreement, including that the U.S. cannot unilaterally insist on inspections, and the inspections of Iran’s facilities that are allowed are not “anywhere, anytime.”

Congress will vote in September on the deal, and both chambers are likely to pass a resolution disapproving the agreement. But under the rules Congress and Mr. Obama agreed to earlier this year, the president can veto it, and Congress must then muster a two-thirds vote to overcome him.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who supports the president’s deal, has said she believes she will keep enough Democrats on the president’s side to sustain his veto.


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