Schumer: I Won’t Whip Opposition Votes On Iran Deal–And I’ll Probably Succeed Harry Reid

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 14, 2015 3:05 PM
Schumer: I Won’t Whip Opposition Votes On Iran Deal–And I’ll Probably Succeed Harry Reid

Upon returning to Washington after the August recess, members of Congress will take up the House’s resolution to reject the deal. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) infuriated the left when he announced on August 6 that he was a firm “no” vote on the Iran deal, citing flaws in the accountability mechanisms and skepticism over Iran’s political climate. Some on Team Obama, both former and current members, have been unusually aggressive in their behavior towards the New York Democrat over his opposition.

What’s ironic about the White House’s behavior is that President Obama’s speech at American University on August 5 to drum up support for the deal, spoke about how easy it is “to play on people’s fears." The message over this agreement quickly evolved into “approve this deal or war.” Oh, and those who oppose it are also just like the hardliners in Iran; a claim that the president doubled down on last week, where he said it was “absolutely true.” Sen. Schumer? In bed with the mullahs of Iran–are we taking bath salts? Many note that this behavior from the Obama White House shows that this administration can’t have a conversation with those that oppose them, nor do they really get their own party in Congress–as the Democrats are split on this agreement.

Yes, we’ve known for a while that President Obama isn’t good at his job, but if a vote for a veto override occurs in the Senate; yes, Schumer will vote to override but won’t do anything to whip votes for the opposition (via Politico):

With liberal groups furious over his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, Sen. Chuck Schumer has been quietly reaching out to dozens of his colleagues to explain his decision and assure them he would not be whipping opposition to the deal, according to Democratic senators and aides.

After news of his decision to vote “no” on the Iran agreement first leaked Thursday night, Schumer (D-N.Y.) has spoken to 20 to 30 fellow Democrats about why he will vote with the GOP leadership against the deal, sources said. Schumer had been planning to make these calls on Friday, before his position on Iran became public, but was not able to do so because it had leaked the night before.

In these conversations, Schumer has been walking through his position on the Iran agreement, the product of lengthy negotiations between the leading world powers and the Iranian government.

Schumer, though, is not lobbying his colleagues to vote against the agreement when the Senate takes up a “resolution of disapproval” next month, several undecided senators said during interviews. The disapproval resolution is expected to win the 60 votes needed to overcome any Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that there’s enough to sustain a veto, especially in the House (via the Hill):

A Senate Republican is predicting opponents of the Iran nuclear deal won't be able to overcome a veto by President Obama of a resolution disapproving the accord.

"I still believe that the president will have enough votes to sustain a veto," Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told the The Arizona Republic in an interview published over the weekend.

The comments from Flake — who has emerged as one of the few possible Republican supporters of the nuclear deal — could be troubling for its opponents.

Despite Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) announcement that he would oppose the deal, critics of the Iran deal have been confronted with a steady stream of Democratic lawmakers backing it.

While a resolution of disapproval will surely pass the House and could win the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, winning the two-thirds majority in each chamber to overcome veto looks difficult. If all Republicans vote to kill the deal, they will need to peel off 13 Democrats in the Senate and 44 in the House to override a veto.

Politico also noted that Schumer’s “no” vote looks like it will have no impact on whether he’ll succeed Harry Reid. It’s probably going to happen since the publication reported “support for Schumer inside the Democratic Caucus remains strong, despite longstanding complaints about him from the progressive wing of the party.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also said that Schumer would face no backlash over his vote. As Roll Call  reported, even with some former members of the administration–like former senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer–saying that his claim to replace Reid as leader of the Senate Democrats has been made shaky by his announced opposition to the agreement, the White House’s line is that “Schumer’s status as Democratic leader is a decision for senators to make.” After all, this is the first time Schumer infuriated the administration, and his immediate opposition has already endorsed him to be their next leader:

...Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said he wasn’t worried about the political fallout, Schumer’s words could certainly be used to criticize Democrats who side with Obama.

[…]

The anger against Schumer on the left isn’t just over the Iran deal, of course. His coziness with Wall Street, which has made him a fundraiser nonpareil, has always caused heartburn for some.

But that didn’t cause a split with the White House, which also at times has sided with Wall Street against the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

[…]

What first got Schumer in hot water at the White House was his declaration late last year — out of the blue — that pushing so hard for Obamacare was a political mistake. Now that he’s come out against the president’s foreign policy priority, Obama’s allies aren’t about to forget it.

Former Obama aides Pfeiffer, Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreau and Ben LaBolt Twitter-blasted Schumer within moments of the news breaking. MoveOn.org, quickly followed by other groups on the left, launched a fundraising strike to dump Schumer.

[…]

Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, an Obama friend, would ordinarily be considered the logical choice to challenge Schumer, his former roommate. He has solid liberal credentials, opposed the Iraq War and was an early backer of the Iran deal. But he quickly endorsed Schumer when Reid announced his retirement, and he isn’t nearly the fundraiser Schumer is.

No. 4 Democrat Patty Murray of Washington also endorsed Schumer and hasn’t ruled out a run against Durbin for the No. 2 post. If she were to change her mind and challenge Schumer, she’d have the chance to make history as the first female party leader in the Senate.

In all, this is starting too look like overhyped Washington intrigue. Schumer went against his president and his party over this deal. That’s fine. Sometimes it happens on the Republican side, and yes; the conservative grassroots throws a tantrum as well. Schumer will vote “no” and wait out the progressive hissy fits because this too shall pass.