Washington’s senior U.S. senator and the fourth-ranking Democrat in the United States Senate, Patty Murray, has just released a lengthy statement pledging to support President Barack Obama by voting against a resolution of disapproval concerning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.
The first paragraphs of the statement are as follows:
There are no more momentous decisions facing a United States Senator than those involving war, peace, and the safety and security of our families, our servicemembers, our allies, and our nation. When it comes to these issues, my constituents expect me to do everything I can to cut through the politics, push aside the partisanship, break through the rhetoric, and make the best possible decision with the information we have. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I have approached my decision on the upcoming vote on this deal the same way I approached my decision to support a war in Afghanistan, and the same way I approached my decision to oppose a war in Iraq.
In the weeks since the deal was announced, I have been studying the details, talking to experts, asking questions, getting more information, and listening to my constituents on all sides of the issue.
I pushed the Administration for details and answers to tough questions, and I had frank conversations with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Kerry. I attended classified briefings with the State Department, Energy Department, and members of the intelligence community. I had good conversations with Israeli Ambassador Dermer and so many strong and passionate supporters on both sides of this issue in Washington state and across the country.
And I came away from my conversations with a deep respect for the passionate and strongly-argued views on all sides of this issue.
Going into this decision, I had clear principles guiding my thinking.
First and foremost, Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, and my decision would be based on what course of action moves us closer to that primary goal.
Second, Iran cannot be trusted, and no deal should hinge on them holding up their end of the bargain based on their word or good faith alone. Third, a strong diplomatic solution is the best option.
And fourth, the United States needs to keep all options on the table, including military options, if Iran decides to move toward a nuclear weapon or threatens us or our allies in any other way.
Guided by these principles, I will be voting to support the agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. I will vote against the resolution of disapproval, and, if needed, I will vote against overriding President Obama’s veto.
Emphasis is ours.
We thank Senator Murray for taking a principled stand for peace, not war, and giving diplomacy a chance to work. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way for us to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.
Senator Murray joins over two dozen other Democrats, including Senator Harry Reid and Senator Dick Durbin, as supporters of the JCPOA. Only two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez, have come out in opposition so far.
If at least forty-one Democrats band together, they could hold up a resolution of disapproval in the U.S. Senate and prevent it from even getting to President Obama’s desk, thanks to the Senate’s undemocratic rules, which allow a submajority of senators to preserve the status quo and prevent the Senate from acting on legislation (or in this case, adopting a resolution).
Murray is the first of the Pacific Northwest’s Democratic senators to take a firm position on the JCPOA. Now it’s time for her colleagues Maria Cantwell, Ron Wyden, and Jeff Merkley to follow suit. There is only one position they can responsibly take, and that is to support this agreement and the President who negotiated it.