Durbin, Kirk polar opposites on Iran deal
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk criticized Democrats Friday for finding enough Senate votes to likely keep President Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal in place -- a vote-gathering effort led by his fellow Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.
Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, has taken the lead on rounding up Democrats in the Senate to support the Iran deal. The goal for Durbin and supporters is to uphold an eventual Obama veto of legislation that would block it.
"The administration is celebrating support from a partisan minority of senators for a nuclear deal that threatens the security of the United States and our allies," Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, said in a statement Friday. Republicans control the U.S. Senate and have largely opposed the deal.
Kirk has called for strict continued sanctions on Iran, and the administration's deal puts the two Illinois senators who often work together on state matters -- and collaborated closely during Kirk's stroke recovery -- on polar ends of one of the biggest issues in national politics.
Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and his charge to support the Iran deal comes as the likely next Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, has opposed it.
"I've been whip now for a number of years on the Democratic side, and what I'm doing with this issue I've done 100 times, but rarely with an issue of this importance and rarely if ever over an August recess," Durbin told The Associated Press about the effort.
That recess ends next week as senators return to Washington, D.C.