that Obama held all the cards, nearly every Republican joined Democrats
back in May to pass the “Iran Nuclear Review Act” – which in effect
suspended Obama’s waiver authority for 60 days “following transmittal by
the President of an agreement” to Congress, in order to give Congress
the opportunity to review and weigh in. Once the 60 days is up on
September 17, Obama’s authority is restored unless Congress could a
veto-proof supermajority to revoke it.
We know Congress
can’t. With the help of a robust effort by the White House, J Street
and other progressive organizations to counter conservative
misinformation, public opinion, when the details are understood, supports the deal.
Support is particularly strong among Democratic voters, and in turn,
Democratic support is Congress is nearly unanimous and sufficient to
sustain a veto of any attempt to revoke waiver authority.
Republicans folded their weak hand back in May. They never admitted it
publicly, but clearly they understood they had willingly given Obama his
waiver authority years ago and they didn’t have to numbers to take it
But their brief foray into reality appears to have ended.
following the procedures laid out in the Iran Nuclear Review Act, as the
Senate Republicans are prepared to do, House conservatives have forced
Speaker John Boehner to proceed as if President Obama has failed to
follow the Iran Nuclear Review Act. They charge since Obama didn’t
transmit the contents of a “safeguard agreement” between the
International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, the President didn’t fully
submit all “related” materials and therefore the 60-day clock hasn’t
But as Vox’s Max Fisher has explained,
an IAEA “safeguard agreement” is not a “side deal” related to the
overall Iran agreement. It’s a standard procedure the IAEA uses with 180
countries to implement their inspections. It is usually a secret
between the IAEA and the respective countries because “the IAEA wants as
much access as possible, and because countries do not necessarily want
the details of their nuclear facilities broadcast to the world.” In
turn, Obama does not have it, and is unable to send it to Congress. To
interpret the Iran Nuclear Review Act to encompass any IAEA safeguard
agreement is to render the Iran Nuclear Review Act null and void.
All the House
Republicans are doing is making it impossible for Congress to pass a
resolution of disapproval for Obama to veto, or force Senate Democrats
to formally filibuster.
no big risk to conservatives – no matter what, the Iran deal gets
implemented. But the bigger risk is the image it sends to voters.
Because those watching the juvenile tactics may ask themselves who they
would rather handle our delicate foreign policy matters: those who
accept reality or those that don’t.
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