Tags: Iran | Israel | Chuck Schumer | Iran | deal | undecided | sway

Schumer's Opposition to Iran Deal Likely to Sway Undecided Colleagues

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(Wire services)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Aug 2015 11:06 AM

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's decision to oppose the Iran deal will likely hold significant influence — both directly and indirectly — over the 14 lawmakers who are undecided.

While Schumer has made assurances that he will not be lobbying for others to vote against the deal, he has been contacting dozens of colleagues to explain his position, Politico reported.

Specifically, he has spoken to 20 to 30 Democrats about why he plans to caucus with Republicans on the issue.

"[Schumer] called me for that purpose. The news got out kind of ahead of his planned announcement," Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who has not taken a public stand on the issue, told Politico.

"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."

According to The Washington Post, a number of senators could be swayed by the strong personal ties and a longtime respect they've held for Schumer, in some cases dating back to when they decided to run and he was Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman.

There is no sign, however, that Schumer's opposition to the bill could cost him his expected promotion to Senate minority leader when Harry Reid retires at the end of this Congress, Politico said.

"We've all got a lot of admiration for Chuck's skills," Whitehouse said. "And we're a caucus that has a lot of divergent views on some very important issues. That doesn't bother other members of the caucus on other issues, so I don't see this as a problem for Chuck on this one."

Whitehouse said he plans to make a decision on his position "sometime next week."

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a close ally of Schumer who is also undecided, said he reached out to Schumer to discuss his views.

"Chuck is a professional, and he understand 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."

He added, "I called my friend and said, 'Buddy, I want to re-sign up my [previous] commitment to you to be the leader of our caucus."

Sen. Claire McCaskill said she, too, spoke to Schumer in recent days but remains undecided.

"He understands that this is a tough call," McCaskill said of Schumer, according to Politico. "He's gonna respect everyone's decision."

Meanwhile, powerful pro-Israel organizations that are opposed to the deal could use Schumer's position as leverage among those they donate to, the Post said.

Schumer's position also has the potential to influence Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who has not taken a stand on the issue. The two have worked closely together on issues such as immigration, the Post reported.

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New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's decision to oppose the Iran deal will likely hold significant influence - both directly and indirectly - over the 14 lawmakers who are undecided.
Chuck Schumer, Iran, deal, undecided, sway, democrats
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2015-06-12
Wednesday, 12 Aug 2015 11:06 AM
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