WASHINGTON -- Iran nuclear deal opponents who represent Long Island in Washington expressed disappointment at the news that a 34th Senate Democrat had announced support for it on Wednesday, effectively ending Congress' ability to block the agreement.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key opponent of President Barack Obama's Iran pact, issued a terse statement saying he respected his colleagues' position on an issue that has stirred heated rhetoric, threats and demonstrations outside lawmakers' district offices.
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But four of Long Island's House members stressed their dismay and raised concerns about national security. One criticized the deal's supporters.
"This is a sad moment for America," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford). "I am very disappointed that this fatally flawed deal with Iran will be implemented, even though it is opposed by large majorities of the House, the Senate and the American people."
Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) indicated they aren't ready to call it a done deal yet, at least not until the Senate and House hold a vote, expected this month, on whether to disapprove of the agreement.
If the both chambers vote to reject the deal, Obama can veto the action. With the announcement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski's support Wednesday, Democrats have 34 votes for the accord, enough to sustain the veto in the Senate.
"In the event the president's veto is sustained and the deal is consummated," said Israel, "I will be disappointed but determined to lead the fight to ensure Israel receives all the security enhancements necessary in a post-deal environment."
If Congress can't stop the accord, Rice said, "I'll transition from fighting the deal to fighting to make sure we aggressively enforce every aspect of it, inspect and verify and hold Iran fully accountable for even the slightest infraction."
Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, criticized Senate and House Democrats who support the agreement amid overwhelming opposition to it by Republicans.
"Unfortunately, there are members of Congress choosing party loyalty over national security. Quite honestly, none of them should be re-elected," Zeldin said. Zeldin also said no vote should be held until Congress gets copies of the side deals between international inspectors and Iran.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who backed the pact, declined to comment yesterday. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), who on Monday announced his support for the agreement, did not respond to queries for his reaction.