Unbelievable: Senate may not even vote on Obama's sellout to a nuclear-armed Iran
It's come to this: Thanks to Mr. Congeniality, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn), President Hussein Obama's sellout and endorsement of a nuclear armed Iran may never even come to a vote in the Senate
. This is Jonathan Tobin.
With only two Senate Democrats announcing their opposition (Chuck
Schumer and Robert Menendez), there now appears to be a chance that the
White House will be able to orchestrate a filibuster of the bill if at
least three more Democrats join a unanimous Republican caucus. That will
make a mockery of the approval process that Congress has been going
through. If it does, the blame will belong to a president who has not
hesitated to use inflammatory rhetoric and heavy-handed tactics to stop
Congress from interfering with a policy of appeasement of Iran. But
Obama didn’t do it alone. He could never have succeeded had he not had
the unwitting help of Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the
Foreign Relations Committee. Without Corker’s foolish belief in working
with the White House and pusillanimous unwillingness to push for an
approval process in line with the Constitution’s provisions about
foreign treaties, the administration might never have been able to get
away with sneaking through the most important foreign policy decision in
The Tennessee Republican didn’t get much cooperation from the
administration. However, he did listen to a lot of his Democratic
colleagues who were unhappy about confronting Obama but wanted to
preserve some sort of Congressional oversight on the Iran negotiations.
Thus, hoping to maintain the bipartisan consensus on Iran, Corker
shifted the emphasis in the Senate away from a bill that would toughen
sanctions against Iran that had been proposed by Menendez and Illinois
Republican Mark Kirk. Instead, Corker’s attention was focused on
something else: something that would compel the administration to
present any deal with Iran for a Congressional vote.
Thus was born the Corker-Menendez bill that would be renamed
Corker-Cardin after Menendez was forced out as ranking member of the
Foreign Relations Committee and replaced by Senator Ben Cardin.
Considering that the administration had openly said that it did feel
compelled to present any agreement with Iran for Congressional approval,
some sort of response was required. But the only thing Corker could get
Corker and other Democrats to sign on to was a bill on an Iran nuclear
deal that would provide for a simple up and down vote in both the House
and the Senate.
What was wrong with that? The Constitution explicitly states that
foreign treaties must be presented to the Senate where they must get a
two-thirds vote to be approved. The impetus for this high bar was the
thought that treaties ought to be a matter of national consensus since
they involve the security of the nation and their impact will be felt
beyond the current Congress or the incumbent president.
Corker’s bill turned that approval process upside down. Instead of 67
votes to pass a deal that would give Iran Western approval for becoming
a nuclear threshold state and a nuclear power once the deal expired in
10 to 15 years, all Obama would now need was 34 votes in the Senate or
one-third plus one vote in the House.
It can be argued that Democrats would never have gone along with a
bill that would have designated the Iran deal as a treaty as it should
have been. The administration knows that there is no legal argument for
not designating the deal as a treaty. As Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the only reason they didn’t present it as a treaty is because it is too hard to pass a treaty.
Corker is flummoxed by this prospect, telling the New York Times that he cannot imagine that a Senate will do it.
“Ninety-eight senators voted to give themselves the right
to vote on this,” he said. “Surely they are not going to deny
themselves a final vote on the deal.” …
“To block a vote on the deal would be a fascinating turn of events at a minimum,” Mr. Corker said.
Fascinating isn’t quite the word I’d use for such a turn of events. A
better description of what is happening is that a tough-minded
administration has run rings around an inept Corker. Did he really trust
liberal Democrats who promised that they wanted a vote? If so, he is
clearly not smart enough to be left in the position of influence he has
been given. Far from his accommodating attitude rebuilding the consensus
on Iran that Obama has been busy destroying, Corker’s willingness to
bend over backwards has facilitated Obama’s disastrous policy.
A filibuster will enable the president to say that Congress never
defeated his Iran deal. That’s something that he would have been denied
if he had been forced to veto the bill. Even a complete end run by the
administration around congress where no vote at all would have been held
would have been preferable to a successful Iran deal filibuster. Then
opponents would have been able to point to the extra-legal way the
president was sneaking his treaty with Iran through. A failed effort to
designate the deal as a treaty would also at least have set the record
straight about Obama’s disregard for the Constitution. But now Obama can
say the deal was reviewed and in a sense passed. This will strengthen
his efforts to undermine existing sanctions and make it harder for the
deal to overturn it in the future once he leaves office.
For that he can thank Corker.
By the way, if you're wondering how this pea brain became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee... the party was looking for an ideological conservative. Maybe the party ought to be looking for some intelligence before worrying about ideology?
Labels: Bob Corker, Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, United States Senate