West Virginia senator fourth Democrat to oppose nuclear deal
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West Virginia senator fourth Democrat to oppose nuclear deal

Joe Manchin says agreement does not require Iran to alter behavior; 4 senators remain undecided 2 days ahead of vote with filibuster still in air

US Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Senate Banking Committee member Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to a meeting with the committee in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
US Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Senate Banking Committee member Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to a meeting with the committee in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will oppose the Iran nuclear deal, he told reporters Tuesday, putting a possible filibuster on the vote nearly out of reach.

Manchin said the Iranian regime had shown no signs of changing its behavior and the deal it reached with six world powers does “nothing to guarantee that behavior changes.”

The senator had been one of five yet to declare how they will vote.

He had earlier said he was leaning toward supporting the deal, according to the Charleston Gazette.

Manchin will become one of four Democrats to oppose the deal, along with senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Ben Cardin of Maryland. The Obama administration now needs the support of three of the remaining four undecided senators to manage a filibuster, which would keep the deal from being voted down and thus obviate the need for a presidential veto.

Congress returns from its summer recess Tuesday and a vote on the Iran deal is planned for Thursday, after two days of debate.

Manchin, the only Democrat in West Virginia’s congressional delegation, joins the rest of his state’s lawmakers in opposing the agreement between Iran and six world powers to ease sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Obama administration has already guaranteed it will be able to sustain a veto if the Senate votes to disapproves the deal, with 34 Democrats saying they support the agreement. But lawmakers had been hoping to use a filibuster to keep the measure from even being voted on, saving the White House from having to veto an expected Republican victory against the agreement.

The remaining undecided senators are Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Peters of Michigan.

Wyden is expected to oppose the agreement. Blumenthal’s office said he will announce his position on the Iran nuclear agreement at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

AP contributed to this report.

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