WASHINGTON – White House hopes for stopping a congressional challenge to the Iran nuclear deal and sparing President Barack Obama from using a veto suffered a blow Friday when a key Senate Democrat announced his opposition.
The setback came in the announcement from Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, that he opposes the deal, which he said “legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program.”
Cardin’s move doesn’t affect the ultimate outcome for the international accord to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The White House already clinched the necessary Senate votes to ensure that even if Obama ended up having to veto a disapproval resolution set for a vote next week, his veto would be upheld.
But with that support in hand and more piling up, the White House and congressional backers of the deal had begun aiming for a more ambitious goal: enough commitments to bottle up the disapproval resolution in the Senate with a filibuster, preventing it from even coming to a final vote.