President Barack Obama is poised to bypass a congressional majority and voter opinion as he implements the Iran deal.
Obama secured the votes he needs to stop Congress from interfering Wednesday, which is a huge victory that means the deal will almost certainly be implemented. But the lack of support for such a critical matter of national security within and without Congress is striking.
A recent Quinnipiac poll found voters 55 percent of voters oppose the deal, compared to just 25 percent who support the deal. Another survey found deep skepticism of the deal among U.S. active-duty military and civilian government employees in national-security jobs. Only 26 percent of those surveyed by Defense One said the deal is good for the U.S., while 66 percent said the deal is not good for the U.S.
More than 50 senators, including Democrats Chuck Schumer, who is the senior senator, and Robert Menendez, who is the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, do not support the deal. Not a single Republican supports it, and many Democrats remain undecided.
Just 34 senators — all Democrats — openly support the deal.
Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski deliberated for weeks before announcing support of the deal, saying it’s “not perfect” but “is the best option available” to stop Iran from making a nuclear bomb.
Congress will vote on a resolution in the coming weeks condemning the deal, and Obama apparently doesn’t have enough support in Congress to block the resolution. With Mikulski’s support he has just barely scraped together the 34 votes he needs to prevent what would be an embarrassing veto override.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called support for the deal in Congress “tepid, restricted and partisan,” in a statement Wednesday, and said the fight ahead “will require a bipartisan Congress.”
Supporters of the deal argue it’s the best and only option to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but critics say lifting sanctions will dangerously bolster Iran’s government and are skeptical Iran will live up to its side of the bargain.
“Whether or not the supporters of the agreement admit it, this deal is based on ‘hope’– hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration,” Menendez said in August. “Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.”
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