Speed Reads

Iran nuclear deal

31st senator, 75 former lawmakers, endorse Iran nuclear deal

And then there were three. That's the number of Senate votes the White House needs to sustain President Obama's promised veto of a bill trying to stop the Iran nuclear deal, after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) became the 31st senator to say he'll vote to support the deal on Sunday. Two more senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — are leaning toward yes, according to The Washington Post's tally, and 11 senators (10 of them Democrats) are undecided or their vote is unknown.

Although the numbers and momentum appear to favor Obama, it's not over until the votes are cast in the binding resolution of disapproval, expected to be taken up by Congress in mid-September. So heavy-spending advocacy groups are still trying to convince wavering lawmakers to support their side, and various groups of experts or interested parties are issuing letters with the same goal. The newest letter, dated Monday, is from 75 former members of Congress, urging their successors and former colleagues to back the Iran deal. Only four of the signatories are Republicans, but one of them, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), is a pretty big name in foreign policy. Ex-Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) also signed the letter.