Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Game Over? With Sen Casey, Pro-Deal Forces Win Over Key Iran Deal Vote

With Sen. Bob Casey, a close ally of AIPAC, coming out in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement, it is now a virtual certainty that President Obama will have enough votes to sustain a veto against any resolution to reject the deal.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

While LobeLog generally shuns “breaking news,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey’s announcement Tuesday that he supports the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) merits special notice. According to my calculations, Casey’s announcement, which was coupled with a lengthy and thoughtful memorandum on why he reached his decision, makes it a virtual certainty that Obama will have enough support among Senate Democrats to sustain his veto – if one proves necessary — of any resolution to reject the nuclear deal.

Indeed, it’s looks increasingly possible that a veto may not be even necessary. If 41 Democrats (including the two independents, Bernie Sanders and Angus King) oppose such a resolution, it won’t even get to the president’s desk. And, with Delaware Sen. Chris Coons joining Casey and what is becoming a remarkably strong majority of his Democratic colleagues, that prospect is certainly looming into view. With Coons, I count 33 Democratic senators on record as supporting the deal. With another half dozen reportedly leaning in that direction… well, you can do the math. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is also expected to announce her support imminently, which would bring the veto-relevant total to the magic 34.

That said, Casey’s decision marks a major victory for the administration and the independent groups that have rallied behind the JCPOA. Until now, the Pennsylvania senator has been a staunch ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and a steadfast hawk on Iran. Shortly after winning reelection in 2012, Casey spoke before the neoconservative (and mainly Republican) Foundation for Defense of Democracies which sang his praises in the latter regard. “Few leaders have done as much as Senator Casey to confront Iran, our greatest threat in the Middle East,” noted FDD board member Ken Schwarz in his introduction.

Casey was one of the original movers of the Kirk-Menendez “Wag the Dog” Act (S. 1881), the bill designed by AIPAC and FDD to sabotage the November 2013 Joint Program of Action (JPOA).

(Of the 15 Democrats who co-sponsored that bill, Casey and Coons have become the third and fourth — after Gillibrand and Donnelly — to endorse the JCPOA. Four others – Begich, Pryor, Landrieu, and Hagan – were defeated in their reelection bids. Five others – Cardin, Blumenthal, Warner, Booker, and Manchin – haven’t yet announced their positions, while Menendez and Schumer are the only two Senate Democrats who have pledged to reject the deal.)

Casey was also one of just eight original Democratic co-sponsors of S. 269, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, that was introduced by Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, AIPAC’s most loyal Republican in the upper chamber. Other Democratic co-sponsors of that bill included Menendez, Schumer, Blumenthal, Donnelly, Manchin, and Peters (who has also come out in favor of the JCPOA). That legislation, a milder version of the “Wag the Dog” bill, albeit also intended to sabotage the P5+1 talks, became mired in parliamentary mismanagement and never made it to the floor.

Casey’s co-sponsorship of these bills is not the only thing that makes his support for the JCPOA so significant, however. My understanding from sources on Capitol Hill is that, once Schumer announced his opposition to the deal with Iran, Casey became one of the top three — along with Cardin (the ranking member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Booker – lobbying targets for AIPAC and the various donors who have contributed millions to the campaign to secure a veto-proof majority against the nuclear deal.

Casey’s decision not only brings Obama to the brink of victory in his quest to secure the 34 Democratic votes in the Senate to sustain any veto. It may also provide additional political cover – and inject some spine – into still-wavering Democrats, including, perhaps Cardin and Booker. If they break in the president’s favour, the chances that Obama will be forced to wield his veto will likely be substantially reduced – which would be a remarkable victory indeed, particularly given the tens of millions of dollars spent on this campaign by the opposition.

Of course, Benjamin Netanyahu, AIPAC and the Republicans, who are already working on new sanctions legislation, will not be deterred. And, while Obama now looks set to win a mighty big battle in the Senate later this month, the war over the future of U.S. policy toward Iran is hardly over.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), former chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is a leading ”pro-Israel” hawk in Congress.


Brigette Gabriel, an anti-Islamic author and activist, is the founder of the right-wing group ACT! for America.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Frank Gaffney, director of the hardline neoconservative Center for Security Policy, is a longtime advocate of aggressive U.S. foreign policies, bloated military budgets, and confrontation with the Islamic world.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.


Huntsman, the millionaire scion of the Huntsman chemical empire, is a former Utah governor who served as President Obama’s first ambassador to China and was a candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

AIPAC has done more than just tolerate the U.S. tilt toward extreme and often xenophobic views. Newly released tax filings show that the country’s biggest pro-Israel group financially contributed to the Center for Security Policy, the think-tank that played a pivotal role in engineering the Trump administration’s efforts to impose a ban on Muslim immigration.


Print Friendly

It would have been hard for Trump to find someone with more extreme positions than David Friedman for U.S. ambassador to Israel.


Print Friendly

Just as the “bogeyman” of the Mexican rapist and drug dealer is used to justify the Wall and mass immigration detention, the specter of Muslim terrorists is being used to validate gutting the refugee program and limiting admission from North Africa, and Southwest and South Asia.


Print Friendly

Although the mainstream media narrative about Trump’s Russia ties has been fairly linear, in reality the situation appears to be anything but.


Print Friendly

Reagan’s military buildup had little justification, though the military was rebuilding after the Vietnam disaster. Today, there is almost no case at all for a defense budget increase as big as the $54 billion that the Trump administration wants.


Print Friendly

The very idea of any U.S. president putting his personal financial interests ahead of the U.S. national interest is sufficient reason for the public to be outraged. That such a conflict of interest may affect real U.S. foreign policy decisions is an outrage.


Print Friendly

The new US administration is continuing a state of war that has existed for 16 years.


RightWeb
share