USA TODAY US Edition
Klobuchar sees Iran ire, Cuba consensus
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who announced last week that she would support the Iran nuclear deal, says it is increasingly likely President Obama will have the votes he needs to sustain a veto of congressional legislation that tries to block it.
It probably will be a victory won without the support of a single Senate Republican, just the sort of partisan divide she decries in a new book, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heart
land, published next week by Henry Holt. “It’s an anti-Trump book,” she says, about avoiding the sort of blistering rhetoric and political posturing that makes it hard to forge alliances across party lines to get things done.
Two senior Senate Democrats have announced opposition to the deal — Charles Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Klobuchar is one of two dozen Democratic senators who declared their support. Congress is likely to pass a resolution of disapproval, which Obama vowed to veto. The White House would need 34 Senate votes or 146 House votes to sustain a veto.
“Even (Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell is saying it’s getting tougher and tougher to override a veto,” Klobuchar says. “The tide is moving ” toward support amid fierce lobbying. “In terms of the intensity of how people felt about it,” she says, “I don’t remember anything quite like this.”
She is more optimistic about the prospect of bipartisan action to lift the trade embargo against Cuba, especially if restrictions on travel by Americans to the island are eased. “Once those tens of millions of Americans come into Cuba, the impetus for more foreign investment, from hotels to telecommunications to food ... that is going to make a major difference,” she tells USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series. “My fear is if we wait too long, pretty soon those American tourists will be sleeping in Spanish hotels and eating German food.”
A Pew Research Center Poll last month found almost three in four Americans support lifting the embargo. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility we get this done in the next year or the next two years,” Klobuchar says. “I do think this is just a matter of ‘when,’ not a matter of ‘if ’ anymore.”
Klobuchar, 55, the daughter of a longtime columnist for the Star
Tribune in Minneapolis, has a reporter’s eye for an anecdote.
Her book is threaded with tough lessons, including dealing with her father’s alcoholism and her daughter’s serious medical problems at birth. “These things that seem like obstacles, they’re always a path,” she says.