Those supporting the nuclear deal in Iran are gaining momentum in the U.S. Senate, raising the possibility they can block a likely disapproval resolution and protect the President from needing to use his veto power.
This possible outcome, which looked close to impossible a few days after the Iran deal was announced in July, remains a long shot.
Nonetheless, if it happened it would be a big victory for Obama, who has staked his entire foreign policy legacy on this agreement that the U.S. and five world powers struck with Iran to dismantle the majority of the nuclear program in Iran in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and frozen assets.
Forty-one senators are needed to block the resolution that is scheduled to be voted on in September. Only 34 Senators are needed to uphold a veto by Obama if the resolution is passed and then vetoed by the White House.
On Tuesday, Senator Patty Murray from Washington became the 29th senator who publicly announced support of the nuclear deal.
Murray said the deal is not perfect, and there are several different elements that would be better if stronger, but working through all the details and looking at alternatives, she was convinced that this deal was the best chance for a strong solution using diplomacy.
Two Democrats in the Senate – Charlie Schumer from New York and Bob Menendez from New Jersey – announced they would vote in September against the agreement.
However, supporters are confident they will be able to get the necessary 34 votes and some started to say privately that 41 votes might be reachable.
Many have cautioned that it remains a remote possibility with Republicans unanimously against the deal and officials from Israel arguing quite vehemently against the nuclear deal.
Although, the predictions that the Republican opponents along with the powerful pro Israeli lobby would use the August recess of Congress to make the nuclear deal politically toxic has not come to fruition.