A key Democrat predicted on Tuesday that there will be enough votes in the Senate by week's end to uphold an expected veto by President Barack Obama of a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal, reports The Associated Press (AP).
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told students at Johns Hopkins University that he remains undecided, but said the numbers are close to favoring the president when Congress votes later this month on Republican legislation disapproving of the deal.
"The numbers in Congress are looking pretty close to favoring the president," Cardin said, according to AP, adding, "The president will have at least 32 committed Democrats on his side by the end of the day. That number looks like it will clearly get to the 34 number by the end of the week so it looks pretty clear the president is going to have the support to sustain a veto."
So far, only two Senate Democrats — New York's Chuck Schumer and New Jersey's Bob Menendez — have announced that they will vote against the deal, which Congress has until September 17 to approve or reject.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Obama came closer to his goal of being able to uphold the veto, after Democratic Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced their support of the deal, becoming the 32nd and 33rd Democrats in the Senate to do so.
Obama now needs only one more Democrat to reach the 34 votes needed to uphold a veto of the Republican-drafted resolution against the deal.
Cardin in his address discussed the pros and cons on each side and said his decision will be made on which approach is likeliest to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. Either decision carries risks, he said.
"I think it's a tough call and I sort of bristle when people say this is such an easy decision, why haven't you made it. I don't think it is an easy judgment call," Cardin said, according to AP. "I think there are high risks either way."
Senator Menendez, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee and is a leading voice against the deal, acknowledged last week that the White House lobbying campaign for the Iran nuclear deal has generated results, and said he doesn't know if opponents of the deal can prevail.