Schumer has spoken to 20 to 30 fellow Democrats since announcing opposition to deal but is not trying to sway them.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been “quietly reaching out” to dozens of other Democratic colleagues to explain his decision to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, but he has also been assuring them he would not be whipping opposition to the deal, according to Democratic senators and aides who spoke with congressional news site Politico.
Since news of his decision to vote “no” on the Iran deal leaked Thursday night – apparently from President Obama, whom he had informed of his decision – Schumer has spoken to “20 to 30” of his colleagues about why he will vote against the deal, sources told the news site.
In these conversations, Schumer has been “walking through his position” on the deal reached between the leading world powers and the Iranian government. He is, however, “not lobbying his colleagues to vote with him against the agreement when the Senate takes up a “resolution of disapproval” in September, several undecided senators told Politico.
'Too close to call'
Obama needs 34 senators to uphold a veto of the resolution. Right now, the Senate vote is too close to call, estimated the site, even after three Democrats came out on Tuesday in favor of the agreement.
“[Schumer] called me for that purpose. The news got out kind of ahead of his planned announcement,” said Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has not yet made a public stand on the deal. “He wanted to tell a bunch of us that he meant to call us first, but the news got ahead of him, and now he was calling to just explain and apologize not to have called first.”
Whitehouse said he expects to make a decision on Iran “sometime next week,” and that he intends to consult with fellow Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed before making any announcement. “If I had to make a guesstimation, I would say there will be enough senators to sustain the president’s veto, and there’s a chance – just a chance – of keeping the number below 60,” Whitehouse said. “I wouldn’t say there’s a big chance, but there’s an outside chance.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), a close Schumer ally and another Democrat who is undecided on Iran, said he actually reached out to Schumer first. He, too, said Schumer did not try to sway him on how to vote. Manchin said he was “leaning yes” on the agreement.
“I called Chuck Schumer and when I heard all the cr*p going on, and all the dialogue back-and-forth,” Manchin said during a Tuesday. “Chuck is a professional, and he understands that on these extremely personal, important decisions, each senator has to come to their own belief, their own inner peace if you will, about that decision.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who has yet to announce a position, told Yahoo News that she had also spoken with Schumer. “He understands that this a tough call,” she said. “He’s gonna respect everyone’s decision.” She also said it was “too early to tell” how many Democrats would join Schumer in voting “no.”