WASHINGTON - Iran nuclear deal opponents who represent Long Island in Washington expressed disappointment at the news that the 34th Senate Democrat had announced support for it on Wednesday, effectively ending Congress' ability to block the agreement.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key opponent of the deal, issued a terse statement Wednesday, but the four Long Island members of the House against it reacted strongly, some criticizing Democrats and all raising concerns about national security.
"I made a decision of conscience, as have my colleagues, and I respect theirs," said Schumer, one of two Senate Democrats to oppose the deal despite support by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other members of the party's leadership.
"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," King said in a statement.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) criticized Senate and House Democrats supporting the agreement, amid an overwhelming rejection of it by Republicans in Congress.
"Unfortunately, there are members of Congress choosing party loyalty over national security. Quite honestly, none of them should be re-elected," he said.
Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, added, "Time will prove that the Iran nuclear deal should have never been signed off on in the first place."
In his statement, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who describes himself as the highest ranking Jewish member in the House, indicated he has not given up hope yet on Congress rejecting the deal.
"While I disagree with its proponents, in the event the president's veto is sustained and the deal is consummated, I will be disappointed but determined to lead the fight to ensure Israel receives all the security enhancements necessary in a post-deal environment," he said.
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), who also opposed the agreement, said, "I don't think this deal will make the world safer. For the sake of our security, Israel's security and the region's security, I believe we could have gotten a better deal."
She added, "But if this deal is approved, 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."
Four of the five House members representing Long Island announced opposition to the agreement between six countries led by the United States with Iran to curb its nuclear development in return for easing of international economic sanctions on Tehran. New York's senators were split.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a deal supporter, declined to comment on Wednesday. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), who on Monday announced his support for the agreement, has not reacted.
Under a law passed earlier this year, Congress has 60 days to review the agreement before voting whether to disapprove it. The Senate and House are expected to reject the deal, since Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to it.
But the law allows Obama to veto that disapproval, and the Senate needs 67 votes to override the veto. With the announcement Wednesday by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) that she supports the deal, there are enough votes to sustain the veto.