Senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties are co-sponsoring a bill that would require President Barack Obama to submit to the Senate for review any deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
Obama immediately responded with a threat to veto the bill if passed into law.
Tension between Congress and President Obama will be heightened even more on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress that Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and nearly two dozen Democrats are boycotting.
The Senate and the Prime Minister ostensibly are threats to Obama’s presumed privilege to determine foreign policy. Beneath the surface, they are threats to exposing Obama’s approach to Iran as a total failure.
Globalization does not allow any country to remain quiet when it is under a threat because of the actions of another country.
The Senate already has passed a resolution, reported here by The Jewish Press, stating that it welcomes Netanyahu’s speech at a time when “the Government of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel.”
The new Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 bill was submitted on Friday. It would delay implementation of a deal with Iran for 60 days while senators review it, leaving the possibility for it to vote on it.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, a Republican, told Bloomberg, “Before sanctions begin to be unraveled, this gives us our rightful role to weigh in and keeps us involved as things move along — if a deal is reached.”
Senator Robert Menendez told Bloomberg in a statement:
If a nuclear deal is reached, Congress will have an opportunity to review the agreement and, more importantly, ensure its compliance after it goes into effect. This legislation establishes that vital review and oversight process.
The White House stated on Saturday, “The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran. If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it.”
However, several Democrats have co-signed the bill, setting up a possible full-scale confrontation between the Obama and the Upper House.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine told Bloomberg, “I believe Congress should weigh in on the content of the deal given the centrality of the congressional sanctions to the entire negotiation and the significant security interests involved. This legislation sets up a clear and constructive process for Congressional review of statutory sanctions relief under a standard that is appropriately deferential to the executive branch negotiating the deal.”
Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday is going to be more dramatic than anyone has imagined. He is stepping into a fray that is becoming crystal clear is not only between him and Obama but also between the American people and the president.
Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans consider a nuclear Iran as a major threat to the United States – not to Israel, but to the United States.
As in Israel, major establishment media are backing the “diplomatic process,” which on every front in the Middle East, and also elsewhere, has resulted in one-sided concessions by Israel and the United States or agreements that the other side – usually Middle East countries and the Palestinian Authority – have not honored.