After stating that he plans to vote against the Iran nuclear deal, Sen. Chuck Schumer is receiving criticism from liberals who claim he is "unfit" to be the next Democratic leader, The Hill reports
Schumer is the first Democratic senator to go on record saying he opposes the Iran nuclear deal, but The Hill notes that, with roughly half of Senate Democrats still publicly undecided, his decision to oppose the deal could sway some colleagues who are still on the fence.
"After deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval," Schumer said Thursday night. "To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great."
The loss of Congress's most influential Jewish member is a blow to President Obama, who is trying to rally enough votes in the Senate to protect the agreement from being overturned.
"It makes the deal much more vulnerable both now in terms of congressional support but also with next president who will have to follow through," said Julian Zelizer of Princeton University.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest described Schumer's decision as "disappointing" but "not particularly surprising."
But the civil tone belied seething resentment among Obama allies.
It is resentment that could have a lasting impact on who leads the Democratic Party in the Senate after current leader Harry Reid retires in 2016.
"Senator Schumer siding with the GOP against Obama, (Hillary) Clinton, and most Democrats will make it hard for him to lead the Dems in '16," said Dan Pfeiffer, a long-time Obama senior advisor who left the administration in March.
While allies, Schumer and Obama have disagreed on several major issues over the years.
Schumer voted for the war in Iraq, suggested Obama's signature healthcare reform was a mistake and now opposes the Iran deal.
That was the last straw for some.
"Chuck Schumer, who said it was a mistake to pass Obamacare, now comes out again the Iran Deal. This is our next Senate leader?" asked Jon Favreau, a former Obama speechwriter.
Schumer's former roommate, Senator Dick Durbin had also been in the running to take the coveted top Democratic spot in the Senate.
He may now see an opening to press his case.
Depending on the outcome of the 2016 election the person holding that post will either run Senate business as the majority leader -- if the Democrats regain the majority -- or lead the opposition if they do not.
Previous holders of the post include Lyndon Johnson, who went on to become president.
The White House said it was up to Senate Democrats to decide their leader, but dropped heavy hints about what they thought of Schumer's actions.
"I certainly wouldn't be surprised if there are individual members of the Senate Democratic caucus that will consider the voting record of those who say they would like to lead the caucus," said Earnest.
Earnest also made several references to Schumer's backing for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The New York Times, Schumer's home-state newspaper was more scathing, saying he had "cast his lot with Republican presidential candidates."
In response to Schumer's decision, Becky Bond, the political director of CREDO Action, said that "perhaps it is time to change his nickname from Wall Street Chuck to Warmonger Chuck."
Bond added that "Chuck Schumer was wrong on Iraq and he is wrong on Iran. Schumer's decision to join Republicans in attempting to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal once again shows that he is unfit to lead Senate Democrats."
Schumer, of New York, is the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate and is in line to succeed Harry Reid as the party's leader in the chamber when Reid retires in 2017.
With Schumer's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, CREDO Action is not the only liberal group attacking the senator's decision.
MoveOn.org also said its members would organize a "donor strike" to withhold campaign contributions from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as "any Democratic candidate who succeeds in undermining the president's diplomacy with Iran."
According to CNN, Iran is the Senate's first order of business after its August recess.
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