Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator said he’ll support the deal on Iran crafted by Secretary of State John Kerry and other nations. If the detailed agreement negotiated over an extended period stands, as senators decide whether to support or oppose it as it nears a vote in September, Iran would have economic sanctions lifted in exchange for abandoning pursuit of a nuclear fuel program that could produce a nuclear bomb.
As the heir apparent to former Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, who was called the Senate’s “Liberal Lion,” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, first elected in 2006 then again in 2012, has become a booster of President Barack Obama’s controversial deal with Iran.
Brown Backs Iran Deal
In a statement of his support for the deal, Sen. Brown, the ranking minority member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said, “It’s critical that we prevent Iran from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon. This agreement is the only viable option to achieve that goal.” Brown says he’s studied the details of the deal, listened to Ohioans on all sides of this issue, and consulted with nuclear experts like Energy Secretary Moniz, other administration officials, U.S. intelligence officials, and the ambassadors of our P5+1 allies.
“This deal is not about trusting the Iranian regime, but instead working with our allies on comprehensive, verifiable restrictions to block Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb without precipitating another war in the Middle East,” Brown said. “We must continue to work with our allies in the Middle East – including our most important ally in the region, Israel – to ensure that their security concerns are fully addressed. Finally, Iran must understand that should it violate the terms of the agreement all options remain on the table.”
Portman No Fan Of Iran Deal
Meanwhile, Republicans across the board, from Ohio’s Republican junior Sen. Rob Portman to Gov. John Kasich, either oppose it, as Portman does, or want to straddle the fence on it as Gov. Kasich says he’ll do. Kasich’s waffling stands in sharp contrast with other GOP voices like Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Huckabee who all promise to cancel it if they win the presidency next year.
Sen. Portman, who tries for a second term next year, has many political miles to travel before he’ll accept Obama’s deal. About a month ago, Portman offered comments explaining why he hasn’t come out in support of it. Still not having fully reviewed the plan’s details at the time, he needs convincing that it is enforceable—both through effective international monitoring and the ability to re-impose sanctions if violations occur while assuring that sanctions relief is not given unless and until Iran meets its commitments—and whether the agreement prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon capability.
“This is of the utmost importance for our own national security, as well as for our close allies in the region such as Israel. Congress has a responsibility to carefully review the agreement to ensure it is in the best interests of our national security,” he said in a statement.
Portman trails former Gov. Ted Strickland in polls showing that even though George W. Bush’s budget director then trade representative has many millions in his campaign war chest, he could easily lose to Strickland if Democrats turnout to vote next year in the same numbers they did in both 2008 and 2012, when Barack Obama won Ohio to win the White House.
Sen. Portman was among the 49 senators who signed an open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, warning Iranian leaders that if Iran strikes an anti-nuclear deal in negotiations with President Barack Obama, it will mean little because the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Kasich Waffles On Iran Deal But Wants Boots On The Ground ‘For As Long As It Takes’
On the stump in New Hampshire, the first real primary state he’s betting the ranch on to propel his presidential campaign forward, Gov. Kasich waffled on his support or opposition to it, a tactic common to Kasich, who has a habit of saying one thing then saying something quite different even in the same sentence. Kasich, who did not serve in the military but counts his time on a House military affairs committee as experience he says qualifies himself for president, said he would send U.S. troops to fight a ground war against the Islamic State.
“You’ve got the air power, but you can’t solve anything just with air power,” Kasich said, according to reports. Appearing on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Kasich’s comments come at a time when other Republican presidential hopefuls, including Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, announced they will cancel the deal immediately after assuming office if they were to win the election.
“You know what that is? That’s inexperience. That’s just playing to a crowd,” Ohio’s little known governor said in response to questions about whether he’d tear up the deal upon assuming office. He opposes the Iran nuclear deal and hopes the U.S. Senate ultimately rejects it.
Five months ago, in March, Gov. Kasich said he would add American soldiers to the battle against the Islamic State. “There ought to be boots on the ground to deal with this problem before it gets worse and worse, and those can include American boots,” he said, according to reports. Asked at one town hall gathering in New Hampshire how long U.S. forces should be willing to stay in the region, Kasich said, “As long as it takes to get the job done,” the AP reported.
At the same time, Kasich doesn’t know how to do it. “I’m not opposed to some way to do this. I just don’t know what it is,” he said, noting that the world should not be reshaped in America’s image. Kasich is as unclear about his stance as many of his GOP opponents are crystal clear about scrubbing it if they get their chance to be commander in chief.
Gov. Kasich was pushing a federal balanced budget amendment before declaring his run for the White House. Still carrying his narrative that he’s a deficit hawk, Gov. Kasich, whose state budgets have set records for spending, seems alright with the most expensive kind of spending that also endangers service members’ lives, while simultaneously declaring that popular and critical programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that keep seniors, women and children fed, sheltered and out of dire poverty should be adjusted by cutting benefits or extending the age of retirement.