WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said he will oppose the Iran deal, becoming the sixth Jewish Democrat in Congress to come out against the nuclear agreement.
“My efforts have one purpose: Make it clear that future presidents and Congresses are not bound by this agreement — not legally, not morally, not diplomatically,” Sherman, a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement on Friday.
“In future years, many would argue as long as Iran appears to be complying with the agreement, America cannot insist on modifications or extensions of nuclear restrictions,” he said. “A strong congressional vote against the Agreement is the best way to make it clear that the agreement is not binding on Congress, the American people or future administrations.”
Sherman joins Reps. Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Steve Israel of New York, and Ted Deutch of Florida, along with Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, as Jewish Democrats opposing the deal. Engel is the Foreign Affair Committee’s senior Democrat; Deutch is the senior Democrat on its Middle East subcommittee; Lowey is the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee; and Israel until last year chaired the House Democrats reelection campaign. Schumer is in line for his party’s Senate leadership.
At least nine Jewish Democrats among the 27 Congress members have backed the deal, notably Reps. Sander Levin of Michigan, Adam Schiff of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, along with both California senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Levin is the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee; Schiff is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee; and Schakowsky is the chief deputy whip. Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and Boxer is a long-serving member of the Senate.
Congress’ Jewish caucus generally takes the lead on Israel issues and its trends are closely watched by other lawmakers. Republicans are largely against the sanctions-relief-for-nuclear-restrictions deal reached July 14 between six major powers and Iran, making Democrats the battleground in the fight over whether Congress kills the bill.
Sherman otherwise praised President Barack Obama for his “incredible efforts” to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.
“This president has worked far harder, taken more diplomatic and political risks, and accomplished far more than the previous administration,” he said.