By Andrew Bostom, April 15, 2015:
Yesterday, April 14, 2015 a much ballyhooed “compromise” regarding S.615, “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.” was unanimously agreed upon within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Independent Politico.com, and Washington Post assessments of critical aspects of the lauded compromise brokered by Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, and Democrat Ben Cardin helped eliminate my own cautious optimism about what in fact transpired.
Though it gives Congress an avenue to reject the lifting of legislative sanctions that will be a key part of any deal with Iran, it explicitly states that Congress does not have to approve the diplomatic deal struck by Iran, the United States and other world powers… nor does it treat an Iran agreement like a treaty
16‘‘(C) this section does not require a vote by
17 Congress for the agreement to commence;
18 ‘‘(D) this section provides for congressional
Moreover, as Karen DeYoung and Mike DeBonis added in their Washington Postreport:
Obama retains the right to veto any action to scuttle an Iran pact. To override, a veto would require a two-thirds majority of both House and Senate.
Accordingly, the Corker-Cardin compromise validates the Obama Administration’s negotiations strategy. That “strategy” is contrary to almost all past arms control agreements of consequence, which have been Senate Advice and Consent Treaties, whose approval requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. The Obama Administration, in contrast, is hell-bent on giving legitimacy to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and waiving economic sanctions on Iran, while not submitting the fruits of its masterful negotiations to a Congressional vote for initial approval, prior to implementing the agreement. These developments should be a tocsin of looming calamity given that the framework fiasco for this pending deal includes an inadequate/“hotly contested” inspections process, while also fully ignoring Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear weaponization programs.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) commented wistfully that although the bill “created” the role of post-hoc “congressional review,” it remained “a long way from advice and consent” for an agreement which “rises to the level of a treaty.” But Iran—a self-proclaimed jihadist state with global hegemonic aspirations—remains in an open-ended, “fierce” jihad war with the U.S. “at all levels,” as one “moderate” Iranian adviser to former moderate Iranian President Khatami recently explained. Notwithstanding Sen. Johnson’s rueful acknowledgment, Senate Republicans have shirked their Constitutional, and moral responsibility, rather than confront the implications of Iran’s religiously-inspired bellicosity. With the exception of a gimlet-eyed young Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)—who speaks candidly about tactical destruction of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, which is the only rational way to thwart Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capability—Senate Republicans have cravenly acquiesced to cynical, perverse Obama Administration bullying so as not to be labeled “warmongers.”
A Formula for Rubber-stamping Obama’s Iran Deal by Frank Gaffney
Two clues suggest otherwise: First, the panel’s legislation was adopted unanimously. And second, the White House says Mr. Obama is willing to sign such a bill.
The President and his partisans on Capitol Hill are on board for a simple reason: Instead of this deal facing the high hurdle the Constitution requires for treaties – in which the executive branch must persuade two-thirds of the Senate to approve it, the mechanism set up by the proposed legislation will require opponents to come up with that super-majorityin both houses of Congress.
This arrangement serves Iran’s interests, not America’s.
President Obama says he wants Congress to play a role in approving a nuclear deal with Iran, but his every action suggests the opposite. After months of resistance, the White House said Tuesday the President would finally sign a bill requiring a Senate vote on any deal—and why not since it still gives him nearly a free hand.
Modern Presidents have typically sought a Congressional majority vote, and usually a two-thirds majority, to ratify a major nuclear agreement. Mr. Obama has maneuvered to make Congress irrelevant, though bipartisan majorities passed the economic sanctions that even he now concedes drove Iran to the negotiating table.
The Republican Congress has been trying to reclaim a modest role in foreign affairs over Mr. Obama’s furious resistance. And on Tuesday afternoon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed a measure that authorizes Congress to vote on an Iran deal within 30 days of Mr. Obama submitting it for review.
As late as Tuesday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry was still railing in private against the bill. But the White House finally conceded when passage with a veto-proof majority seemed inevitable. The bill will now pass easily on the floor, and if Mr. Obama’s follows his form, he will soon talk about the bill as if it was his idea.
Mr. Obama can still do whatever he wants on Iran as long as he maintains Democratic support. A majority could offer a resolution of disapproval, but that could be filibustered by Democrats and vetoed by the President. As few as 41 Senate Democrats could thus vote to prevent it from ever getting to President Obama’s desk—and 34 could sustain a veto. Mr. Obama could then declare that Congress had its say and “approved” the Iran deal even if a majority in the House and Senate voted to oppose it.
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker deserves credit for trying, but in the end he had to agree to Democratic changes watering down the measure if he wanted 67 votes to override an Obama veto. Twice the Tennessee Republican delayed a vote in deference to Democrats, though his bill merely requires a vote after the negotiations are over.
His latest concessions shorten the review period to 30 days, which Mr. Obama wanted, perhaps to mollify the mullahs in Tehran who want sanctions lifted immediately. After 52 days Mr. Obama could unilaterally ease sanctions without Congressional approval. Mr. Obama has said that under the “framework” accord sanctions relief is intended to be gradual. But don’t be surprised if his final concession to Ayatollah Khamenei is to lift sanctions after 52 days.
Mr. Corker also removed a requirement that the Administration certify to Congress that Iran is no longer supporting terrorism. This sends an especially bad signal to Iran that Congress agrees with Mr. Obama that the nuclear deal is divorced from its behavior as a rogue state. One of Mr. Obama’s least plausible justifications for the nuclear deal is that it would help to make Iran a “normal” nation. But if Tehran is still sponsoring terrorism around the world, how can it be trusted as a nuclear partner?
Our own view of all this is closer to that of Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who spoke for (but didn’t offer) an amendment in committee Tuesday to require that Mr. Obama submit the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty. Under the Constitution, ratification would require an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the Senate.
Committing the U.S. to a deal of this magnitude—concerning proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons—should require treaty ratification. Previous Presidents fromJFK to Nixon to Reagan and George H.W. Bush submitted nuclear pacts as treaties. Even Mr. Obama submitted the U.S.-Russian New Start accord as a treaty.
The Founders required two-thirds approval on treaties because they wanted major national commitments overseas to have a national political consensus. Mr. Obama should want the same kind of consensus on Iran.
But instead he is giving more authority over American commitments to the United Nations than to the U.S. Congress. By making the accord an executive agreement as opposed to a treaty, and perhaps relying on a filibuster or veto to overcome Congressional opposition, he’s turning the deal into a one-man presidential compact with Iran. This will make it vulnerable to being rejected by the next President, as some of the GOP candidates are already promising.
The case for the Corker bill is that at least it guarantees some debate and a vote in Congress on an Iran deal. Mr. Obama can probably do what he wants anyway, but the Iranians are on notice that the United States isn’t run by a single Supreme Leader.
Ignatius: WH Left Kerry Like a ‘Beached Whale’ When They Realized They’d ‘Get Clobbered’ on Iran Washington Free Beacon
- Congress’s Stand Against the Obama-Iran Nuke Deal (frontpagemag.com)
EXCLUSIVE: Iranian Parliament Releases “Factsheet” for Revision of Lausanne Statement (warsclerotic.wordpress.com)