April 14, 2015

WHAT’S THE REAL DEAL WITH CORKER-MENENDEZ?  Is it a congressional cop out, because it cedes  Senatorial power to ratify treaties  (by 2/3 supermajority)? Or is the treaty power irrelevant, because the bill merely modifies the President’s authority, under existing statutes, to waive Iranian sanctions, thus requiring only majority approval by both houses (and possibly 2/3 of both houses, in the event of a presidential veto)?

And if Congress can somehow get Corker-Menendez enacted, would it bind the President, or would he be free to ignore it, claiming his own, independent Article II authority to negotiate “executive agreements” with other nations?

My own opinion, FWIW, is that any modification of statutorily-imposed sanctions on Iran (and there are many) would require amendment to those statutes, which is what Corker-Menendez seeks to accomplish.  I am deeply concerned, however, that Obama will veto Corker-Menendez, Congress won’t have the votes to override, and Obama will (once again) act unilaterally, claiming broadly worded waiver provisions in existing statutes give him the authority to lift sanctions in his discretion.   He will then support a UN Security Council resolution lifting sanctions (with little to no verification regime).  Once this is done, the US will have little practical ability to back out, as Iran will have the “blessing” and cover of the world community/international law.

No one could stop the President under this scenario, btw, unless courts are willing to recognize congressional standing to sue the President when he fails to faithfully execute Congress’s statutes.

Or maybe, as this (idiotic) political science professor asserts, Corker-Menendez is “counterproductive to foreign policy success”? Well, geez, why have a Congress at all if they’re always standing in the way of presidential desires? We might as well just adjourn Congress permanently.  It’s so, like, 1787.

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