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Mitch Perry Report for 7.14.15 — Can Obama get 34 senators to stay with him on Iran deal?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Today’s nuclear announcement between the U.S. and Iran will be the big story today and throughout the rest of the summer in Washington.

Once the proposal is sent to Congress, the clock begins, with the House and Senate having 60 days to tear the thing apart, which they’re already doing.

Once they reject the proposal, President Obama will veto that rejection, and that’s when he’ll need his Democratic senator friends to salvage the deal — 34 senators would need to override that deal.

Notice I haven’t mentioned a word yet about what’s in the deal — because that hasn’t stopped the critics for months if not beyond that to say it’s a historic mistake to even negotiate with a Middle Eastern nation with a history of hostility to the West.

Does it eliminate Iran ever getting a nuclear weapon? No it does not. It delays it.

I haven’t seen the specifics of the plan as I write this, but Politico’s Michael Crowley writes:

“Some elements of the deal were locked in by an April 2 political framework agreement reached in Lausanne, Switzerland. They include a commitment by Iran to reduce its number of installed centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,104, with only 5,060 of those enriching uranium for 10 years. Centrifuges spin gaseous uranium at supersonic speeds to increase its purity to levels suitable for a nuclear weapon.

“Iran has also agreed to modify a plutonium-fueled nuclear reactor so that its fuel cannot be reprocessed for use in a weapon. And it will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) broad access to suspected nuclear sites, as well as cooperate with an IAEA investigation into its past activities, although many crucial details have yet to be released.”

Sanctions wouldn’t be removed for months, but once they are, Iran will have more money to spend. The question is, will it be on its own people, or funneling it to finance terrorism around the world?

We know that there are certain Democratic senators, like Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who will be as vehemently opposed to the deal as any Republican. And will any Republican senator be supportive?

Again, Obama needs 34 senators to have the deal get through. Bill Nelson said two weeks ago he wanted to wait for the details before announcing where he stood, but he criticized his GOP colleagues for condemning it before seeing it.

In other news..

While officials with the Tampa Bay Times insist that it’s no big thang that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation put a lien on the Times headquarters on First Avenue South late last month due to theagency’s concerns about the paper’s ability to pay back a major loan, a closer look reveals there should be cause for concern.

The musical chairs in Florida politics is just beginning. Alan Grayson’s announcement last week that he’s now a candidate for the U.S. Senate means his CD 9 seat is up for grabs. His district aide, activist Susannah Randolph, announced on Monday that she is entering the Democratic primary contest to hopefully succeed her current boss.

Grayson is not the only self-described progressive in the Florida Democratic Senate race. There’s also retired Navy JAG officer Pam Keith from Palm Beach County. She visited Tampa on a campaign visit last week.

Tampa House Democratic state Rep. Janet Cruz wrote a scathing note to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Monday, warning him that he ought to make the next round of redrawing the congressional lines open to the public.

Wondering what former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll is up to? Read here to learn the latest.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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