Senator Barbara Mikulski has announced that she will vote in favor of President Obama’s Iran deal. Sen. Mikulski’s support is critical because she becomes the 34th Democrat to announce that she will vote yea. Under the Corker framework so ingeniously conceived by Republican leadership in Congress, this means Obama’s deal cannot be defeated – under the legislation Congress is deemed to endorse the agreement unless it can muster a now unattainable 67 Senate votes (and a similar two-thirds of the House) to enact a resolution of disapproval over Obama’s veto.
It is worth repeating that Republicans rationalized this abdication of their duty to use their constitutional powers to block Obama’s empowerment of America’s sworn enemies by claiming that the legislation ensured that Congress would get to review the deal. This, of course, was always preposterous:
(a) Congress has many tools – the power of the purse, the ability to block Obama appointments and legislative priorities, the power to conduct oversight hearings, the capacity to raise public alarm in media coverage – that could have pressured Obama to reveal the deal’s terms;
(b) there is no coup in forcing the administration to be transparent if the price tag is forfeiting Congress’s constitutional power to reject the deal under the regular rules of treaty review (under which the president must convince 67 senators, not 34, to support the deal) or legislation (under which the president must convince majorities of both houses); and
(c) the Senate’s treaty power does not depend on the president’s cooperation – it comes from the Constitution, and the Senate could have treated the deal (and it still can) as a treaty even if Obama refuses to submit it as such.
Leaving all that aside, though, it is as noteworthy as it was predictable that the Congress never got what Republicans promised the public it would get: full disclosure of Obama’s Iran deal.
Knowing that the inspection and verification provisions of the deal are a joke that could not withstand scrutiny, Obama shrewdly arranged for them to be tucked into what has been portrayed as a secret deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Obama and the IAEA have told Congress to buzz off: lawmakers are not permitted to review that purportedly private Iran-IAEA arrangement because that would “compromise the IAEA’s integrity.”
Most normal people who’ve had their intelligence insulted this way would announce that the ill-conceived Corker bill is null and void due to Obama’s bad faith and failure to comply with the requirement that the deal be disclosed to Congress in its entirety. Republicans instead appear to be in their default cave-in mode.
Obama’s deal will bankroll the world’s leading state sponsor of jihadist terrorism, drop sanctions against its development of missiles, oblige the United States to protect Iran’s nuclear work from Israeli interference, and pave Iran’s way to become a nuclear power. Regarding these hiccups, Sen. Mikulski shrugged and said, “No deal is perfect.” She is confident, though, that the U.S. can press ahead with the deal while “reaffirm[ing] our commitment to the safety and security of Israel.”
Meanwhile, a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard took time out from celebrating Obama’s Iran deal to vow that Iran would continue building up its military capabilities until it has defeated Israel. According to regime’s news agency, Brigadier General Moshen Kazzemeini admonished that the United States and Israel “should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine.”
Taking its cue from Obama’s see-no-evil approach, the foreign secretary of Britain, a partner in the Iran deal, sought to justify the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran by claiming that Iran was displaying a more nuanced approach to the conflict with Israel. This drew a good laugh out of the regime – which has no shortage of cause to chuckle at the West these days. A government spokesman replied, “Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan.”
Good job, Mr. President, Sen. Mikulski, congressional Democrats, and GOP leadership. What better way to “reaffirm our commitment to the safety and security of Israel” than to conceive and grease the wheels for a deal that gives breathtaking aid and comfort to its enemy – and ours.