White House Officials Plot Ways to Pressure Lawmakers Into
Supporting Iran Deal
groups to launch lobbying campaign
By Adam Kredo
July 6, 2015
House officials on Monday held a private conference call with liberal
organizations to discuss ways of pressuring Democrats and other lawmakers
on Capitol Hill into supporting a nuclear deal with Iran that is expected to be
finalized in the coming days, according to an audio recording of that call
obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
call, in which there were more than 100 participants, was organized by the
liberal pro-Iran group Ploughshares
Fund, which has spent millions of dollars to slant Iran-related coverage and
protect the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts.
White House officials described a nuclear deal with Iran as President Obama’s
“signature foreign policy accomplishment” and urged liberal groups to launch
an all-out lobbying campaign to pressure lawmakers, especially Democrats, to
back the deal.
leaders on the call told participants to prepare for a “real war” and
repeatedly declared that “the other side will go crazy” in the coming days.
The call also included the anti-war group MoveOn.org.
has really been on the front burner from a foreign perspective, although not in
the public eye necessarily, since the very beginning,” Matt Nosanchuk, an
official in the White House Office of Public Engagement, told participants.
“This is not an issue of the day, this is really an issue of the
second White House official, John Bisognano, went on to stress “the importance
of this to the president.”
is clearly an issue that is very close to his heart and something that’s
extraordinarily important for the future of frankly the world,” Bisognano
said. “I want to make sure everyone understands this is a top priority for the
administration, and this is clearly something that we’re all focused on moving
forward and excited about hoping that we can come to a solid agreement.”
of the call emphasized that the assembled groups should target Democrats in
order to build a veto-proof majority when the deal eventually comes to Congress
for a vote.
Creamer, a member
of the liberal political shop Democracy Partners and the general consultant to
the anti-Republican Americans
United for Change, urged participants on the call to “step up” their
have to take to our memberships all over the country,” Creamer said during the
call. “We all have to step up. The other side will go crazy with intensity.”
should target Democrats by “blitzing the hell out of the Hill,” Creamer
will be ultimately decisive is the level of intensity that members of Congress
feel, particularly Democrats,” said Creamer. “Democrats are actually the key
people here because if we can have enough votes to prevent a presidential veto
override [of the deal], then we win.”
means tons of phone calls, lots of lobbying contacts, not just a couple of good
conversations, I mean just blitzing the hell out of the Hill,” he said,
rallying participants to prepare for “a big, big battle” over the deal.
“This is going to be a real war for the next week.”
another point in the call, Creamer jumped in to offer a word of encouragement
from his wife, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.).
me just also note, my wife, Congresswoman Schakowsky, just yelled across the
room to me to make clear to everybody that we have to be clear that this is a
good deal because it prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Creamer
said. “The other side will go crazy. We have to be really clear that it’s a
sought to defend the administration from critics who are concerned that the
billions of dollars in economic sanctions relief to Iran will be used to fund
the country’s terrorist activities.
respect to criticisms that any agreement that affords sanctions relief will open
the floodgates so that Iran receives all this money it can then pour into its
nefarious activities in the region, our response to that is they’re doing it
anyway,” Nosanchuk said, explaining that the administration believes Iran will
use the money to fix its stagnating economy.
expectation is that sanctions relief will go into bolstering the Iranian economy
and not into supporting all these other activities, which as I pointed out, are
being supported anyway,” he said.
White House officials told participants the administration is invested in trying
to reach an agreement by July 9.
date has been set by Congress as the last day the administration can submit a
draft of any final deal for a 30-day review by lawmakers. Any draft submitted
between July 10 and Sept. 7 would sit in front of Congress for 60 days,
providing lawmakers with extra time to scrutinize the deal.
explained that if Congress fails to act within this time period, “the
president has the authority to issue waivers and begin implementing the
agreement” without legislative approval.
White House remains confident that if Congress rejects the deal, the president
could veto that action and continue to move forward.
“They could vote to approve it or they vote to disapprove it, and then, of course, if that occurs, we’re put in the position of having to sustain a veto by the president, which we’ll want to work very hard, and we’re confident that if congressional action does take place, we’ll come out on the other side of this with the deal in tact and the president’s signature foreign policy accomplishment being upheld,” said Nosanchuk.