Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced her support of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran today, becoming the 34th vote in favor of the bill, effectively ensuring that the deal will stand. She follows Sens. Chris Coons and Bob Casey, who announced their support Tuesday. “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb,” Mikulski said, also calling for Congress to “reaffirm our commitment to the safety and security of Israel.”
Under a deal reached in May, Congress can vote for a resolution this month disapproving of the deal. That resolution is likely to pass with unanimous Republican support, along with (so far) Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez as well as several Democrats in the House. But with 34 Senate votes, President Obama’s inevitable veto of the resolution will stand. And the Iranian parliament, which has been holding off on its formal approval of the deal until the U.S. Congress weighed in, is now likely to make it official.
Republicans will still try to force Obama to use his veto, which he won’t have to do if six more senators get on board. Ten Democrats in the Senate are still undecided. Some wavering Democrats in both the House and Senate will probably finally feel free to oppose the agreement, now that there’s no risk of their vote sabotaging a key White House initiative.
Even though it is essentially a done deal, the agreement will continue to provide campaign fodder: Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are holding a joint rally in Washington against the agreement next week. This debate isn’t entirely over, but after today, the stakes are considerably lower.