OIACUS, Maryland, 09/06/15 – Sen. Ben Cardin, senior Democrat member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced Friday he would oppose President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, while Sen. Michael Bennet signaled his support, The Washington Times reported on Friday.
The announcements bring the number of Senate votes in favor of the nuclear agreement to 38, leaving just five Senate Democrats undecided as a vote on a resolution of disapproval approaches.
Cardin is the third senior Democrat Senator to oppose the nuclear deal. High ranking Senators Charles Schumer and Bob Menendez are the other top Democrats opposing the deal.
Sen. Cardin, whose strong advocacy on humanitarian issues and more than two decades of service on the U.S. Helsinki Commission have made him a voice of moral authority on Capitol Hill, said he would push for legislation to put strict controls on how the accord is implemented, including a sharp response to violations.
The agreement “allows Iran a legal path to have such a sophisticated enrichment program and so close to break out, with the additional financial resources after sanction relief has been granted,” Sen. Cardin said.
“Iran is going to do whatever it needs to do to get around this agreement,” he added.
Sen. Cardin said the legislation he would pursue would focus on authorizing the administration to use all options in responding to violations of the agreement by the regime in Iran, as well as to any support by Tehran of terrorist activities.
Republicans who control both houses will try to pass the resolution of disapproval on Sept. 17 which would prevent the deal from being implemented. President Obama is expected to veto that resolution, a diplomatic embarrassment the White House is hoping to avoid. The President has the 34 votes needed to stop a veto override by the Congress, but Democrats could block a senate vote entirely if they gather 41 votes.