Reid backs Iran deal

Reid backs Iran deal
© Francis Rivera

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller MORE (D-Nev.) endorsed President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran on Sunday, giving the White House another supporter on Capitol Hill. 

Reid, in an interview with The Washington Post, said he would “do everything in my power” to make sure that Congress doesn’t stand in the way of the historic agreement. He said the accord gave the U.S. and its allies its best chance to stop Iran from being a nuclear power.

“This nuclear agreement is consistent with the greatest traditions of American leadership,” Reid said in a statement later on Sunday. "I will vote no on the resolution of disapproval and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Reid said he came to his decision “through a rigorous process of study and review” and was briefed by dozens of experts “from across the spectrum.”

“Throughout all of these deliberations, critics of the agreement failed to articulate a viable alternative,” he added. “I see that as one more piece of evidence suggesting that this agreement is the best path forward.”

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Opponents of the agreement have pressured Democrats to join Republicans in voting to block the accord.

But so far only two Senate Democrats — Reid’s heir apparent Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.) — have come out against the deal. With Reid on board, 27 Senate Democrats are now supporting the Iran deal, according to The Hill's whip list.

Obama needs at least one-third of the House or the Senate to stand with him on the Iran deal to ensure that Congress would sustain his veto of a resolution disapproving the agreement.

But Reid said Sunday that he thought there is a chance that Senate Democrats could round up the 41 votes necessary to block Congress from even passing the resolution. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure when they return to Washington in September.

With his decision, Reid joins Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has helped round up Democratic support, in backing the agreement. Reid told The Post that he has backed the deal for weeks, and has been working with the White House to shore up support.

The Senate’s No. 4 Democrat, Patty Murray (Wash.), has yet to announce her decision on the deal.

Reid cast his break with Schumer on Iran as a rare disagreement, and downplayed the chances that Schumer’s opposition would hurt his standing in the Democratic Caucus.

--This report was updated at 4:43 p.m.