Well, now we know. We won. Unconditionally. According to President Obama, “This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.” Surely, the Iranian JV team of negotiators must be shamefully slinking back into Tehran; tails tucked between their legs.
But William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and certainly no right-wing nut job, stated it this way. “We have a deal. It’s a deal worse than even we imagined possible. It’s a deal that gives the Iranian regime $140 BILLION in return for … effectively nothing: no dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program, no anytime/anywhere inspections, no curbs on Iran’s ballistic missile program, no maintenance of the arms embargo, no halt to Iran’s sponsorship of terror. Congress should engage in a full and comprehensive debate. Congress should then pass a resolution of disapproval.”
Mr. Kristol’s advice is well and good. At least it was. Of course, a president may legitimately make non-binding agreements as permitted under his power to conduct foreign affairs. But to obligate the United States of America to any such agreement, a president must either persuade the Senate to ratify it as a treaty, Article II, Section 2, or persuade the full Congress to pass a law accepting his agreement by ordinary legislation — a bill passed by a majority of both houses and signed into law by the president. So Mr. Obama’s claimed victories, do not become binding unless approved by two-thirds of the Senate or two-thirds of the entire Congress.
But all that was changed.
Enter, again from left stage, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and obvious 2020 presidential aspirant, with his “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 — signed into law by President Obama on May 22. Now, why would President Obama sign a bill that supposedly gives Congress control over his Iranian negotiations? As usual, the Devil is in the fine print.
Rather than forcing the President to persuade two-thirds of the Senate, or Congress, to approve whatever he and Secretary “Swift-Boat” Kerry cook up, the Corker legislation imposes on opponents of the deal the burden of persuading two-thirds of the full Congress not to approve it. In other words, President Obama’s agreements become law — unless rejected. See the difference? And even if Congress passes a resolution disapproving the Iran deal, the Corker legislation allows Mr. Obama to veto the resolution and proceed anyway.
Additionally, the legislation, according to Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), apparently one of the few who have actually read the bill, would require the United States to prove Iranian violations of any such agreement, rather than forcing Iran to prove it is in compliance. If, as permitted in the Obama deal, Iran refuses un-announced, any-time, third-party inspections, how would such proof of violations be possible?
So, with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, and seemingly unified against Obama’s give-away Iran deal, why did Republican Senator Corker introduce a legislative loophole that has made it exponentially more difficult for Congress to reject the deal, preserve the sanctions, and keep the military option on the table?
Perhaps the answer lies in the identity of the company the Senator keeps:
Co-authors of Senator Corker’s bill are: Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Bill Nelson (D- FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN.), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA) and of course, Orin Hatch (R-UT).
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