Stabenow backs Iran deal
© Lauren Schneiderman
Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Cash surge puts more Senate races in play Poll shows Sen. Gary Peters with slim lead over GOP rival in Michigan MORE (D-Mich.) said Monday she will back the Iran nuclear deal, giving a win to the White House as it seeks to steer the agreement through Congress when it returns next month from the August recess. 

“I have determined that the imminent threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon outweighs any flaws I see in the international agreement. For this reason, I must support the agreement," she said in a statement. “For me, the decision comes down to this: without this international agreement, Iran will have enough nuclear material for a weapon in three months. " 

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Stabenow added that while the Iran nuclear agreement "isn't perfect," she has been told by officials from the other five countries that helped negotiate the deal that they wouldn't be part of new talks if Congress rejects the deal. 

“So America must choose between the following: an international coalition working together to stop a nuclear Iran while increasing our joint efforts to stop their non-nuclear terrorist activities, or no international effort, no surveillance, no accountability and a nuclear Iran within a few months," she said. 

The idea that the administration could get a better deal has been a key argument of Republicans, as well as Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerIlhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (D-N.Y.), with whom Stabenow is close with in the Senate. 

Despite her support, she said that in the wake of the agreement the administration as well as Congress must "redouble" its efforts to combat Iran's support of terrorism. 

"I strongly support strengthening our sanctions on terrorism and human rights violations, with more aggressive targeting and enforcement; tracking any new spending on Iran’s non-nuclear activities from new sources; and ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge," she said. 

Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Isolationism creeps back over America, as the president looks out for himself MORE (D-N.J.) and Mark KirkMark Steven KirkBottom Line Trump faces serious crunch in search for new Homeland Security leader Feehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs MORE (R-Ill.) have introduced legislation that would extend an Iran sanctions bill, set to expire next year, until 2026. Lawmakers, including Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE (R-Tenn.), have suggested that Iran would view extending the sanctions law as a violation of the nuclear agreement. 

Stabenow is the 28th Senate Democrat to publicly back the Iran nuclear deal since it was announced in mid-July, according to The Hill's whip list.  

The Michigan lawmaker was one of roughly a dozen Senate Democrats that opponents of the deal had hoped to convince to buck President Obama on Iran ahead of next month's vote. 

The Senate is expected to take up a resolution of disapproval once it returns from the August recess on Sept. 8. Congress has until Sept. 17 to pass legislation and until early October to override a potential veto. 

Stabenow's decision to back the agreement puts Obama one step closer to the 34 senators he'll need to uphold a potential veto so that the agreement can survive Congress. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said later Monday that 15 senators — including Stabenow — have backed the Iran nuclear deal in the past two weeks, calling it a sign of “some important momentum” behind the deal in the Senate.

Asked whether the White House could build enough support to filibuster a resolution of disapproval in the Senate, Earnest said “we’ll have to see.”

“The administration continues to be confident we will be able to sustain a veto in the Congress,” Earnest said.

National Iranian American Council Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi said that Democrats should try to get enough support to block the resolution of disapproval from passing the Senate in the first place, which would require seven more votes than the 34 needed to uphold a veto.

"With resolve, 41 Senators should be willing to block a resolution of disapproval from ever passing in the first place," he said in a statement. "Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and other undecided lawmakers should follow Sen. Stabenow’s lead by publicly announcing their support for this strong and verifiable deal.”

—Last updated at 1:48 p.m.