As it was before, so it is now: The question of whether Congress will blow up diplomacy with Iran and put us on a path to another war is ultimately a question about Senate Democrats. There are 54 Republicans in the Senate. To pass the diplomacy-killing Corker bill, they need at least six Democrats. To override a threatened Presidential veto of the Corker bill, they need at least thirteen Democrats. (In this discussion, I’m going to treat “Senate Democrats” and “Senators who caucus as Democrats” as synonyms.)
Here’s some good news about where Democrats are standing: since the “framework” deal with Iran was announced last week: former Secretary of State and widely-presumed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have all welcomed the agreement.
The New York Times reported:
Hillary Rodham Clinton called the framework for an Iran nuclear deal that was reached on Thursday an “important step,” adding that while “the devil is always in the details” in such negotiations, “diplomacy deserves a chance to succeed.”
“The understanding that the major world powers have reached with Iran is an important step toward a comprehensive agreement that would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and strengthen the security of the United States, Israel and the region,” Mrs. Clinton said.
The Hill reported:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday called this week’s tentative pact over Iran’s nuclear weapons research the best chance for lasting peace in the Middle East.
“Finding a negotiated solution, something that works, something that doesn’t involve trusting, something that involves verifying that Iran is not moving toward developing a nuclear weapon, that is our best promise in the region,” Warren said on Friday’s debut episode of “The HuffPost Show.”
“While much more work remains to be done this framework is an important step forward. It is imperative that Iran not get a nuclear weapon. It also is imperative that we do everything we can to reach a diplomatic solution and avoid never-ending war in the Middle East. I look forward to examining the details of this agreement and making sure that it is effective and strong.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Other Senate Democrats who have welcomed the agreement include: Minority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Whip Dick Durbin, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Now for some bad news: there are a bunch of Senate Democrats who are not yet on the diplomacy bandwagon. In particular, Senator Corker told Fox News that Senate Minority Leader “heir apparent” Chuck Schumer is playing on the Republican team, not on President Obama’s diplomacy team:
Corker told Fox News on Sunday that he had backing from key Democrats for the bill, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a prominent Jewish lawmaker who is line to be the new Senate Democratic leader in early 2017.
You can urge your Democratic Senators to join President Obama’s diplomacy team here.