September 6th, 2015
10:17 AM ET

DNC chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on the Iran deal: "I will be casting my vote to support the deal and, if necessary, sustain the president's veto."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic National Committee chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), joined anchor, Jake Tapper.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz reveals Iran deal vote (full interview)

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

DNC chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on her vote to support the Iran deal: “I have gone through a gut-wrenching, thought-provoking process, where I wrapped up that process by spending the last few weeks talking with my constituents. And my number one goal in making this decision was to reach a conclusion based on what I thought would be most likely to prevent Iran from achieving their nuclear weapons goals.  And in weighing everything, all the information that I have had in front of me, I concluded that the best thing to do is to vote in support of the Iran deal and make sure that we can put Iran years away from being a threshold nuclear state, and ensure that we can more closely concentrate on their terrorist activity.  So, I will be casting my vote to support the deal and, if necessary, sustain the president's veto.”

Schultz on deciding with a “Jewish heart” for the Iran deal: “I'm the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in Congress.  I'm a Jewish mother.  And I wrote an op-ed today that is in "The Miami Herald," my home - one of my hometown papers that talked about my Jewish heart and how important this was to me that, as a Jewish mother, that we have a concept of l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation.  There's nothing more important to me, as a Jew, to ensure that Israel's existence is there throughout our generations.  And I'm confident that the process I have gone through to reach this decision is one that will ensure that Israel will be there forever.  It's the homeland of my people.  I'm an American citizen, and I believe fervently in protecting America's national security interests.  And there's no way that we would be able to ensure that better than approving this deal and ensuring that Iran is not ever able to get access to nuclear weapons, and that we can shift our focus with the rest of the world on going after their terrorist ambitions.”

Schultz on the result for America if we pull out of the Iran deal: “…if we walked away from the deal, no matter what, Iran gets access to additional resources. And if we walk away from the deal, then what results is, they have additional resources.  They still have the ability to ramp up and move towards their nuclear weapons goals.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Congress comes back this week to debate President Obama's hotly contested deal intended to tamp down Iran's nuclear ambitions.  The White House appears now to have enough votes to avoid it getting completely derailed by Congress.  But it must sting to have so many inside the president's own party vowing to vote against the deal.

Among the many, many conflicted Democrats, Democratic National Committee Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  She joins me now to announce her vote.  Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA:  Thanks for having me, Jake.

TAPPER:  So, I know you spoke to the president, you spoke to the vice president.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  I did.

TAPPER:  Did you give them good news?  Did you give them bad news?  How are you going to vote?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  You know, I have gone through a gut-wrenching, thought-provoking process, where I wrapped up that process by spending the last few weeks talking with my constituents.

And my number one goal in making this decision was to reach a conclusion based on what I thought would be most likely to prevent Iran from achieving their nuclear weapons goals.  And in weighing everything, all the information that I have had in front of me, I concluded that the best thing to do is to vote in support of the Iran deal and make sure that we can put Iran years away from being a threshold nuclear state, and ensure that we can more closely concentrate on their terrorist activity.  So, I will be casting my vote to support the deal and, if necessary, sustain the president's veto.

TAPPER:  What were some of the specifics about the deal that made this such a difficult decision for you?  What parts of the deal do you wish were stronger?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  So, there are a number of things that really had given me angst and pause, and that still do.  I worry that the vigilance over the life of the deal may wane, not the United States' vigilance, but, you know, with the IAEA's enforcement, with the world that has been a party to this, that complacency could set in.  I worry that the additional resources, no matter how little, that Iran would get access to, that they could divert to terrorist activity would cause harm to Jews and others around the world.  I worry that we have to make sure that the monitoring is really as gap-free as possible.

But with all of that, in looking at those concerns, and even still having them, it was imperative for me to be able to make a decision, A, based on, is there a better alternative?  In thoroughly reviewing opponents' claims that we could using our banking system, for example, to wrestle our allies and Iran back to the negotiating table for a so-called better deal, no one presented me with any evidence to show me that that was possible.

And in talking to our allies' ambassadors, in talking to nuclear experts, in talking to our intelligence officials in top-secret briefings, in talking to Secretary Lew, it was very clear that global economic chaos would be caused if you had even attempted that, that if we walked away from the deal, no matter what, Iran gets access to additional resources. And if we walk away from the deal, then what results is, they have additional resources.  They still have the ability to ramp up and move towards their nuclear weapons goals.

TAPPER:  Yes.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  And we have none of the monitoring, none of the accountability, none of the inspections.  And...

TAPPER:  And the deal would provide that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  And the deal ensures that at least those very robust - the most intrusive inspections and monitoring that we have ever imposed or that have ever been agreed to.

TAPPER:  A few weeks ago, the Associated Press revealed that they had seen a document that would suggest that Iran, when it came to the military installation at Parchin, Iran would get to self-inspect.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Right.  And when - I had - the day - that story came out the day before I had an entire morning's worth of briefings, top-secret briefings in the Situation Room.  I walked in...

TAPPER:  You went to the Situation Room?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  I did.  I have been - I was in the Situation Room probably 20 times over the last two years, from the beginning of the discussions about the preliminary agreement all the way through to two Fridays ago, when that story came out.

I brought that story into the Situation Room with our - some of our intelligence officials who I can't obviously reveal who they were, put that story in front of them.  And I said, "If this is true, I am a no.  I want you to clearly understand that.  You need to address this concern." And I was given probably the most thorough review that almost any member had access to as far as what the actual process is for Iran to reveal their previous military dimensions at Parchin.  And I can say in no uncertain terms, without revealing the details that they cannot self-inspect.

TAPPER:  They can't?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Cannot.

TAPPER:  OK.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Absolutely cannot, and that the IAEA - and, in fact, the head of the IAEA came out immediately - and they hardly ever comment, Jake, but the head of the IAEA said that that was absolutely not the case.  It's an excruciatingly detailed process that they will have to go through to certify.

TAPPER:  OK.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  And they cannot self-inspect.

TAPPER:  We only have...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  That was incredibly important to me.

TAPPER:  We only have about a minute left, but I want to address something that's very clear to you, I know, in that there are a lot of constituents of yours, there are a lot of Jews who are going to say, you sold out Israel.  And what are you going say to them?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  You know, I'm the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in Congress.  I'm a Jewish mother.  And I wrote an op-ed today that is in "The Miami Herald," my home - one of my hometown papers that talked about my Jewish heart and how important this was to me that, as a Jewish mother, that we have a concept of l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation.

There's nothing more important to me, as a Jew, to ensure that Israel's existence is there throughout our generations.  And I'm confident that the process I have gone through to reach this decision is one that will ensure that Israel will be there forever.  It's the homeland of my people.  I'm an American citizen, and I believe fervently in protecting America's national security interests.  And there's no way that we would be able to ensure that better than approving this deal and ensuring that Iran is not ever able to get access to nuclear weapons, and that we can shift our focus with the rest of the world on going after their terrorist ambitions.

And, most importantly, I had the privilege of talking with President Obama last night, who assured me that, as we move forward and discuss with Israel enhanced - the enhanced security package that will absolutely be essential for us to provide to Israel, as well as ensure that we tighten the ability - our ability to enforce this deal, that I will be part of a group of members of Congress that will be working with him and his administration on that.  That's critical for me.

TAPPER:  Obviously a very, very difficult decision for you, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  It has been.

TAPPER:  There's a lot of politics I want to talk to you about as well...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Right.

TAPPER: ...the Democratic debates, Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Right.

TAPPER:  You have agreed to come back.  And you will talk to me on Tuesday on “The Lead” so we can address that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Yes, absolutely.  Look forward to that.

TAPPER:  Thank you so much for talking to me about this very tough decision for you.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thanks, Jake.

###END INTERVIEW###

 


Topics: CNN • Jake Tapper • State of the Union
tmpl
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.