More Support for the Iran Deal

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, says she will back the deal the U.S. and other world powers struck with Iran over its nuclear program.

President Obama already has the 34 votes he needs to ensure that Congress can’t block the agreement, but the Florida congresswoman’s support gives the agreement the backing of an influential Jewish Democrat.

“I’ll be casting my vote to support the deal and if necessary sustain the president’s veto,” she told CNN’s State of the Union, calling the process through which she arrived at her decision “gut-wrenching [and] thought-provoking.”

Wasserman Schultz choked up during the interview, describing how difficult her decision was as a “Jewish mother” and as the first Jewish Democrat elected to the House of Representatives from Florida.

“There’s nothing more important to me as a Jew than to ensure that Israel’s existence is there throughout our generations,” she said, adding the agreement would “put Iran years away from being a threshold nuclear state.”

In an op-ed for the Miami Herald, Wasserman Schultz added that the deal is the “best chance to ensure America’s, Israel’s and our allies’ security.” But, she said:

This is the most difficult decision I have had to make in the nearly 23 years I have served in elected office, and this vote will be the most consequential.

As my colleague David noted last week:

For several weeks, it’s looked likely Obama would get enough Democratic support, even after Chuck Schumer, the presumptive next Democratic Senate leader, came out against it. On Tuesday, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, who’d expressed misgivings about the deal publicly, announced he would support it, as did Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Coons’s support, in particular, was expected to help bring along the holdouts.

(The process is byzantine: Rather than giving the deal a yes-or-no, the Senate can vote to disapprove it. Obama would then veto the Senate resolution, but he needs to ensure enough support that the veto can’t be overridden.)