Congresswoman from Queens breaks with Democrats, says she'll vote no on Iran deal

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Dave Evans reports (WABC)

President Barack Obama is lobbying hard to win Democratic support of his Iran nuclear deal. Republicans vow to oppose it when it comes to a vote in September, which makes Democratic support crucial.

Whether to approve the deal or not is a huge dilemma for many, especially Senator Charles Schumer. Many Democrats, aware of the threat Iran poses to Israel, are against the deal. But its number one backer is the leader of their own party.

And among New York's Democratic delegation, one early defector has emerged. Grace Meng, of Queens, has broken with her party and says she'll be voting no.

"It was a difficult decision for me," she said. "It was something very personal, and it weighed very heavily on my mind."

She said she has spent the last few weeks grappling with the agreement hammered out by the Obama administration and announced July 14.

Since then, there have been protests opposing the agreement, arrests outside Schumer's office and an expensive TV campaign urging Congress to find a better deal.

"Restrictions end after 10 years, and then Iran could build a nuclear weapon in two months," the ad says.

Schumer remains undecided.

"At the end of the day, after balancing everything that I read or heard, I was not convinced they would not have their hands on a nuclear weapon after 10 years," Meng said.

Obama has promised to veto any resolution in Congress opposing the deal, so Republcians are recruiting Democrats in the hopes of making their decision veto-proof.

"President Obama said it's this deal or war," House Speaker John Boehner said. "Well, that's a false choice."

The White House met privately this week with Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York and also Congressman Eliot Engel from the Bronx. And then there's Schumer, who could persuade many fellow Democrats.

Despite all that, Meng said she feels confident in her decision.

"Someone from the White House did call my office and did express disappointment with my decision," she said. "But like I said, I look forward to continue working with my Democratic president, President Obama and his administration. We just don't agree on this issue."

Congress is now on recess until early September and has 60 days to decide whether to support the agreement and the president, or side with Republicans in opposition.
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