The republican tea party, extreme right conservatives who tout the Constitution of the United States are in need of some civic classes. This time they convinced establishment republicans like our U.S. Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell to join in their foolishness of challenging our President’s ability to construct a concord with Iran which is in America’s national interest before anything has been finalized and reviewed.
A group of 47 Republican senators wrote a letter to Iran’s leaders advising them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration requires the approval or ratification by Congress which will not be forthcoming.
Here is a transcript of the 3/9/15 of the letter signed not only by many of the standard bearers of the tea party representatives but by many of the more establishment republicans:
It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.Sincerely,Senator Tom Cotton, R-ARSenator Orrin Hatch, R-UTSenator Charles Grassley, R-IASenator Mitch McConnell, R-KYSenator Richard Shelby, R-ALSenator John McCain, R-AZSenator James Inhofe, R-OKSenator Pat Roberts, R-KSSenator Jeff Sessions, R-ALSenator Michael Enzi, R-WYSenator Michael Crapo, R-IDSenator Lindsey Graham, R-SCSenator John Cornyn, R-TXSenator Richard Burr, R-NCSenator John Thune, R-SDSenator Johnny Isakson, R-GASenator David Vitter, R-LASenator John A. Barrasso, R-WYSenator Roger Wicker, R-MSSenator Jim Risch, R-IDSenator Mark Kirk, R-ILSenator Roy Blunt, R-MOSenator Jerry Moran, R-KSSenator Rob Portman, R-OHSenator John Boozman, R-ARSenator Pat Toomey, R-PASenator John Hoeven, R-NDSenator Marco Rubio, R-FLSenator Ron Johnson, R-WISenator Rand Paul, R-KYSenator Mike Lee, R-UTSenator Kelly Ayotte, R-NHSenator Dean Heller, R-NVSenator Tim Scott, R-SCSenator Ted Cruz, R-TXSenator Deb Fischer, R-NESenator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WVSenator Bill Cassidy, R-LASenator Cory Gardner, R-COSenator James Lankford, R-OKSenator Steve Daines, R-MTSenator Mike Rounds, R-SDSenator David Perdue, R-GASenator Thom Tillis, R-NCSenator Joni Ernst, R-IASenator Ben Sasse, R-NESenator Dan Sullivan, R-AK
“Cotton appears to have slightly flubbed the wording on treaty ratification, however — according to a 2001 Congressional Research Service Report, “it is the President who negotiates and ultimately ratifies treaties for the United States.”
“The Constitution does stipulate that the Senate plays a role in that process, however, by taking up a “resolution of ratification” that must pass with a two-thirds majority.
Zarif (Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs) also claimed the GOP senators were ignorant of their own Constitution.”
“This proves that [the senators] are not only strangers to the norms of international rights and regulations, but they also are not familiar with the intricate details of their own Constitution regarding the authority of the President of the United States in executing foreign policy,” he said.
“Despite the imprecise wording, the letter is intended to pressure the Obama administration to give Congress final approval over the developing deal with Iran over its nuclear program. A bipartisan group of senators is currently working to usher a bill to do just that through the Senate, but Democrats have said they won’t move forward with the measure until the first deadline for the talks to bear fruit, at the end of this month.”
“The warning could have the added effect of further complicating already delicate talks between the two nations aimed at reigning in Iran’s nuclear program.”
In short, this will not be a “treaty” between the United States and Iran. It is planned to be a non binding agreement between the United Kingdom, United States, Russia, China, and France, plus Germany and Iran. This non binding agreement does not require ratification. It is constructed to be an agreement that if any party to this plan does not act in good faith to comply with its rules that the parties can then act accordingly.
Our President Barack Obama has committed to the American peoples that our government will not sign off on any agreement that is not in the best interests of the United States. This means that there will have to be ample verification strategies. It is in our best interests to ascertain for ourselves the level of the Iranian nuclear enrichment programs before beginning to consider any military action.
The real reason, the republicans are up in arms over this future agreement is that they are beginning to comprehend that there will not be a viable way to stop this agreement once enacted. They are trying to force our President’s hand now which does not appear to be working.
As per the 3/10/15 NY Times article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, this is Vice President Joe Biden’s comments on this letter:
“This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States,” Mr. Biden said. “Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.”