Leading U.S. Senate Democrats are discussing how to revive a push for legislation imposing additional gun controls in the wake of last weekend's mass shooting in Florida, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide on Monday. The aide did not provide details and senators, who have been on a weekend recess, will be back on Tuesday.
Senate Democrats will hold a special caucus meeting on Thursday to hash out their end-of-year strategy, a senior Democratic aide told POLITICO. The discussion, which will be held before a bipartisan Senate lunch, will focus on how to handle pending tax legislation and the Dec. 11 deadline for passing an omnibus spending bill.
Senate Democrats voted to uphold the hard-fought nuclear accord with Iran on Thursday, overcoming ferocious GOP opposition and delivering President Barack Obama a legacy-making victory on his top foreign policy priority. A disapproval resolution for the agreement fell two votes short of the 60 needed to move forward as most Democratic and independent senators banded together against it. Although House Republicans continued to pursue eleventh-hour strategies to derail the international accord and Senate Republicans promised a re-vote, Thursday's outcome all but guaranteed that the disapproval legislation would not reach Obama's desk.
All summer long, the question in the congressional debate over the Iran deal has been whether opponents could muster a veto-proof majority to block the agreement from taking effect. Now it looks like President Obama might not have to use his veto pen at all.
Three Democratic senators announced Tuesday they will vote in support of the nuclear deal with Iran, appearing to pave the way for a filibuster of Republican-led attempts to disapprove of the controversial agreement. Pro-deal statements from Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) means 41 senators are now publicly backing the deal, enough to keep a disapproval resolution from emerging from the Senate and making its way to President Obama's desk, thus forcing a veto.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, said on Sunday he would support the nuclear deal with Iran, moving President Barack Obama a step closer to having sufficient backing to ensure the deal stands. "I believe the agreement, titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is the best available strategy to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Merkley wrote in a statement published on Medium.com.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), an influential member of Democratic leadership, endorsed the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday in a lengthy statement that voiced some doubts of the plan's efficacy but gave a strong overall backing for the outline. Murray became the 29th Democrat in the Senate to back the plan, with only two Democrats declared in opposition, putting the White House on the cusp of ensuring President Obama can fully implement the pact lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear development.
Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a co-author of the bill allowing Congress to review the nuclear deal with Iran, said on Tuesday he would support the nuclear agreement. The agreement announced on July 14 between world powers and Tehran "is a dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security," Kaine said in a Senate speech announcing he would back it.