You’ll recall that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously advanced a bill this month that would require the White House to allow Congress to review any finalized nuclear accord struck with Iran. President Obama had threatened to veto any such legislation, but the bipartisan show of force left him with no choice but to relent. Iran skeptics — who feel vindicated by the regime’s rhetoric and actions — have raised one primary objection to the bill as it currently exists: It’s structured in such a way that would require a veto-proof majority to block the implementation of a bad deal, and Republicans know they don’t have the votes to do so. Treaties require support from two-thirds of the Senate to secure ratification, so the White House is presenting the Iran deal — which would bind future presidents and Congresses — as technically not a treaty, in order to turn that calculus on its head. So an eventual Congressional vote to ‘disapprove of’ a final framework could simply be swatted away with an Obama veto, which Congress would be unable to override. Critics of the interim framework have also raised major concerns about the substance of the ‘agreement’ — both in terms of what it includes, and what it does not. Opponents note that the framework does not even attempt to touch Iran’s rogue missile program, notorious support for international terrorism, terrible human rights abuses, fanatical anti-Semitism, or destabilizing regional meddling. The full Senate has begun its debate on the ‘Congressional review’ bill, with Mitch McConnell promising a “robust” and open amendment process:
Democrats aren’t pleased:
Democrats are demanding that Republicans help them rebuff hot button amendments to a bipartisan nuclear review bill. But GOP leaders, on the eve of the first potential votes on the measure, have refused to commit to working in tandem, according to sources in both parties…“We’ve told them that if this is going to evolve into a scenario where it’s Republicans taking the stronger positions and trying to make us look weak, this process is going to slow to a crawl,” said Democratic Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. “We need a bipartisan spirit for this to end well.” With most amendments likely to require 60 votes to pass, the Senate’s 46 Democrats can single-handedly parry some of them. But Democrats don’t want to shoulder all the political blame for party-line votes against Israel or the release of American prisoners that could easily translate into attack ads. By Monday evening, no Democrats had filed any amendments.