Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) thinks the recent deal with Iran, in which Tehran has agreed to freeze aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions, is a lopsided deal, with Iran getting the better part of the bargain. The senator released a statement on Sunday, calling the agreement foolhardy due to its relaxing of sanctions, which Schumer notes were putting substantial pressure on Iran to avoid dabbling in nuclear weapons development.
Schumer, an important figure in Democratic leadership, is in the position of having to choose between supporting the president’s agenda and supporting Israel. The senator, a Jew, surely recognizes that the safety of Israel is an issue that will resonate with a large segment of his constituency. Schumer was joined in his opposition by Republican senators such as Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested that the deal was a desperate attempt to take public attention away from Obamacare.
“This disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December. I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues,” quotes Talking Points Memo from Schumer’s statement to the State Department. Schumer’s indication that the Senate will likely try to pass additional sanctions is echoed by other members of the chamber, including Majority Leader Harry Reid. The deal with Iran opens a six-month negotiating window on sanctions, but the Senate could nevertheless impose tougher sanctions as early as December. This would undermine the State Department, and would be a departure for the Democrat-controlled Senate, which was in close agreement with the White House as early as last week when Reid received the president’s support in his use of the “nuclear option” on filibusters over nominations.
Meanwhile, in the other house of Congress, members worry that Iran may be able to produce a nuclear weapon within one month…