Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) have finally done what so many opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal have been waiting for. Whether their efforts will achieve the goal of opponents will soon be revealed.
The two Republican House members each introduced legislation late on Tuesday, Sept. 8, addressing procedural flaws in the administration’s conduct of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Gohmert introduced a resolution that recategorizes the JCPOA as a treaty (and presidents have no veto power over Senate votes on treaties) and Roskam introduced a resolution which rewinds the clock on Congressional review of the JCPOA because the administration has not provided Congress with all the relevant, required documents relating to the agreement.
Gohmert introduced into the Rules Committee a Resolution declaring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a treaty. The effect of such a move is that rather than two-thirds of the Senate having to oppose the JCPOA, which is the case under Corker-Cardin (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act), if the JCPOA is classified as a treaty it means that two-thirds of the Senate is required to approve the measure.
As Gohmert explained to the members of the House Rules Committee late on Tuesday, a treaty is “any agreement between the U.S. and another country that affects, changes or modifies an existing treat is a treaty.” Because the JCPOA affects, changes and modifies the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Q.E.D., it is a treaty.
Corker-Cardin explicitly provided that the agreement that the U.S. and its partners was going to enter into with Iran would not lift the embargo on the supply of ballistic missiles to Iran and that the act was only to apply to sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.
As later became public, the Nuclear Iran Deal includes all kinds of relief for Iran which are totally unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, such as lifting embargoes on conventional weapons and ICBMs.
In addition, the two “secret side deals” between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran only became public well after the JCPOA was announced, and the INARA explicitly requires all the material dealing with the JCPOA be provided to Congress by the administration by Sept. 7.
All of this means, as explained in Gohmert’s Resolution, that Corker-Cardin cannot be the oversight mechanism for the JCPOA, given the many fundamental differences between what Corker-Cardin was written to cover and the many dramatically different aspects of the JCPOA which have since been revealed.
Gohmert’s Resolution also reveals that Secretary of State John Kerry’s explanation for why the JCPOA could not be considered a treaty was a farce. Kerry undermined his own explanation – that no treaties could be ratified by the Senate – by announcing the ratification of treaties by the Senate within days of making that statement.
The Resolution calls for the Senate to deliberate on the ratification of the Nuclear Iran Deal within 30 days of the passage of the Resolution.
Roskam’s effort states that under the INARA, the administration is required to provide to Congress all of the substantive material detailing the agreement, including the so-called “secret side deals.”
The administration has not provided Congress with that material, so the 60-day congressional review period has not begun to run, and won’t begin until all such materials are provided to Congress. And, of course, no vote on the JCPOA can take place until it does.
A hearing on Gohmert’s Resolution, H.J. Res. 64., will take place in the House on Wednesday, Sept. 9, beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.