U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama may sign a 10-year deal with Iran this month, but if the Congress has its way, that agreement won’t be worth the paper it’s written on, once Obama is out of office.
All 47 Republican senators banded together to send an open letter about the deal to Iran this week. The letter warned that nation’s leadership that any nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration without Congressional support would be a “mere executive agreement.”
As such, the letter went on, “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.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded that the “letter is a continuation of a partisan strategy” and said the lawmakers were “interfering in a delicate moment” in the talks, which are due to resume on March 15. The deadline for an agreement is March 31.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer on Monday and explained that the letter to Iran simply meant, “If this is a bad deal, it will be revisited. We are going to represent the views of the American people.
“Iran has said it does not understand our governmental system. This is a civics lesson for Iran, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate… This just says that the deal better represent U.S. interests as well as Iran interests… If it’s a bad deal, then there will be repercussions.”
The move was organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton, but signed by the Senate’s entire Republican party leadership, as well as three presidential candidates, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.
Because the Congress has been blocked from having any role to play in the negotiating process, lawmakers are very frustrated. As long as the agreement does not have to be ratified by Congress, the Secretary of State or the president can sign the document at the executive branch level, leaving the legislative branch with no role.