White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday that the decision by senior Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer to oppose the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was "disappointing but not surprising," Reuters reported.
President Barack Obama's hopes of preserving the nuclear deal were dealt a blow on Thursday when Schumer came out against it.
Earnest told reporters that the Obama administration worked closely with Schumer to explain details of the deal even before it was signed in an effort to gain his support.
"Ultimately, it didn't turn out that way. I don't think anybody was surprised," Earnest said, according to Reuters.
Obama is struggling to gain congressional backing for the deal, which lawmakers must vote on by September 17. Schumer's rejection means the Obama administration may have to ramp up its lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.
However, Earnest said that twelve members of the U.S. Congress, seven members in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate, have publicly come out in support of the agreement in recent days.
This, he added, showed that Obama had made a persuasive case.
The administration is confident they can continue to build support before next month's deadline, Earnest said.
Schumer’s announcement late on Thursday came several days after reports emerged that he would oppose the deal following a strenuous campaign pressuring him to do so.
More than 10,000 phone calls have flooded Schumer's office line the past two weeks, while another group has shelled out a seven figure sum for TV ads in New York City to pressure Schumer and other lawmakers to vote against the plan.
Also this week, leading Democratic Reps. Nita Lowey and Steve Israel, both of New York, and Ted Deutch of Florida announced their opposition to the Iran deal.
Obama has threatened to veto any legislation passed by Congress blocking the deal, but Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) said on Monday he was confident a new Congressional resolution calling to end the Iran nuclear deal would secure the support of two-thirds of lawmakers, thus rendering Obama unable to veto it.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)