U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, reiterated his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal
today when opening Senate debate on a resolution to disapprove of the
agreement. Corker was the author of the law establishing the process for
congressional review and a vote on the nuclear deal.
“I oppose its implementation,” said Corker. “Rather than ending it, this agreement allows the industrialization of the nuclear program of the world's leading state sponsor of terror, and it does so with our approval. Now, that is a large step from where we began these negotiations.”
Many on the far right have been very unfair in their criticism of Bob Corker. The Tea Party narrative is that the proposed U.S. deal with Iran is a "treaty" and if not for the manipulation of Bob Corker, the Senate would have have had to approve the treaty by a two-thirds vote or it would not become law. That is simply not true. It is far from the truth. Without the law pushed by Corker that established the process for congressional review and a vote on the Iran nuclear deal, the proposed deal would not have been before the Congress at all.
While Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the "Treaty Clause," which empowers the President of the United States to propose and negotiate agreements with foreign powers, which then must be confirmed by the Senate, there are many agreements between a Presidential administration and a foreign power which are not treaties. The difference between a treaty and an executive agreement is that if a deal with a foreign power is just an executive agreement, the next president may terminate the agreement. A treaty can only be terminated by an act of Congress. The Iran nuclear deal is not a "treaty," but an "agreement."
Many of the most significant "treaties" in our history were treaties only in the conventional use of the term but were not treaties in the constitutional sense of the term. The Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments were never approved by the U. S. Senate; they were not "treaties," but were executive agreements. If you doubt this is true, do your own research.
President Obama was going to negotiate a deal with Iran with absolutely no role for the Congress. Due to the leadership of Bob Corker the Congress got a role to play in the process. Without a super majority, the best Corker could get was a requirement that any deal negotiated by the administration had to come back to the Congress and Congress would have a chance to reject it. Unlike a treaty, this agreement did not have to get 2/3rds vote to be approved but had to get a super majority of both houses to be stopped from being implemented by the administration. While not enough Democrats would join Republicans in rejecting this "treaty," which among its major flaws is that within fifteen years it will allow Iran to become a nuclear power; without the work of Bob Corker,the deal would not have even been considered by the U. S. Senate. There would have been no hearings, no votes and no exposure of just how bad of a deal this agreement really is.
Corker at least put the Senate on record as to how they feel about the deal. Since this is not a legal treaty but only an executive agreement, the next President can revisit the agreement. Instead of unfairly vilifying Bob Corker, he should be praised for at least trying to stop a bad deal and at lease letting the U.S. Congress have a voice.
To see Senator Corkers editorial on the Iran deal that appeared in today's Tennessean, follow this link: Americans deserve to know how we stand on Iran deal.