Schumer’s Choice: To Succeed Reid, He Must Back Iran Deal

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has announced that he will not run for re-election. Reid has endorsed Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) to succeed him as Democratic leader.

But in order to succeed Reid as Senate Democratic leader, Schumer is going to have to pay a price: he’s going to have to back President Obama’s multilateral diplomacy with Iran, which Bloomberg reports could produce a “framework agreement” this weekend. Some of Senator Schumer’s New York constituents might not like that, but as the soldiers say, they’ll just have to “embrace the suck.” Senate Republicans may think it’s ok for them to try to undermine a diplomatic agreement. But the prospective leader of Senate Democrats isn’t allowed to do that.

On Thursday, Schumer officially became a co-sponsor of the main Republican bill in the Senate designed to blow up the Iran talks: the Corker-Menendez bill. The Corker-Menendez bill would give the Republican Congress an immediate veto over any deal with Iran, which everyone understands would kill any deal. The administration has threatened to veto the Corker-Menendez bill if it is passed by Congress. Republicans who want to derail the talks have been seeking a veto-proof majority for the Corker-Menendez bill, which means they are trying to get a bunch of Senate Democrats – like Schumer – to agree to help them undermine President Obama.

Schumer will have to make a choice. If he maintains his support for the Corker bill, he would help kill the talks. But then he would never be the leader of Senate Democrats. If he wants to be leader of Senate Democrats, Schumer will have to support President Obama on Iran diplomacy.

When the news broke that Reid was retiring and Schumer was being considered to replace him as Senate Democratic leader, Ilya Sheyman, executive director of Political Action, said, “Supporting reckless legislation that undermines President Obama’s diplomacy with Iran and risks a dangerous, unnecessary war in the Middle East should disqualify anyone from leading the Senate Democratic caucus. Sen. Schumer needs to withdraw his support from the Corker and Menendez legislation.”

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