Congress is not expected to return from their August recess until next week but a historic milestone has been reached while they were out of town, as the Iranian nuclear deal just reached the 34 votes in the Senate needed to sustain a potential Republican veto override.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the crucial 34th vote this morning, clinching the survival of this historic international agreement. Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania announced their support for the deal yesterday. Republicans in the Senate unanimously oppose the deal.
There are still 11 Democrats in the Senate who have not yet pledged their support for the deal but if the White House can garner 41 votes of support then Senate Democrats will have enough to sustain a filibuster, allowing President Obama to avoid a veto altogether. That would require eight of the 11 remaining undeclared senators to decide in favor of the deal.
Ahead of the August recess, supporters of the deal feared organized protests would flood congressmembers' town hall meetings much in the same way opponents of healthcare reform disrupted town hall meetings in 2009 but no such opposition ever materialized.
As former Salon writer Joanna Rothkopf astutely points out at Jezebel's The Slot, Obama has a whole host of women to thank for saving this deal, not the least of whom is the clincher, Sen. Milkuski, the longest serving female senator in history.
But the woman running to replace President Obama on the Republican side, Carly Fiorina, has no interest in aiding the deal, reacting to the news that Obama had secured enough support to defeat a Republican challenge by vowing to secure a new deal as soon she takes office.
"President Obama and John Kerry got rolled," Fiorina told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade minutes after the 34th vote was announced.
Fiornina's Republican rival, Sen. Marco Rubio, went even further, dismissing the need for a nuclear deal with Iran:
So far, only two Democratic senators have come out against the deal — Chuck Schumer of New York, who's slated to take over from the retiring Harry Reid as Democratic leader in January 2017, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.