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If Obama chooses the UN over Congress, what next?

If Obama chooses the UN over Congress, what next?

“Dissing Congress is a risky move for American presidents.”

Today, the State Department sent the Obama Administration’s now-infamous Iran nuclear deal to Congress for review. This means that starting now, Congress has 60 days to fully read, analyze, and pass judgment on the bill of goods Obama and Kerry are selling.

Will any of that work matter, though? Maybe not.

The other parties to the agreement with Iran are putting enormous pressure on the Obama Administration to push this deal through the UN before our Congress has the opportunity to either accept or reject its contents. The Administration, in turn, appears to have decided to take away all of the legitimacy of Congressional review by acquiescing to the demands of the international community—and Congress is not happy about it.

Via The Hill:

The battle is uniting Republicans, from conservative firebrand and presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to GOP leadership and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, urged the administration to hold off on the U.N. Security Council vote.

Doing otherwise, Thune said, would show that “the president holds the opinion of the United Nations in higher esteem than the American people.”

The quick move toward the U.N. vote has also angered rank-and-file Republicans, with Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) saying that it makes it seem like the administration “always intended to bypass Congress by moving through the United Nations.”

It’s not just Republicans who are angry at the prospect of being bypassed. Democratic representative Steny Hoyer has voiced his opposition to putting the UN ahead of the legislative branch, as has Sen. Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee and original backer of the congressional review process. Cardin has teamed up with Republican Sen. Bob Corker to formally ask the Administration to hold off, but it’s unclear at this point whether or not the protestations will have any effect.

The White House has been largely non responsive to the protests of its own party, insisting that the UN’s promise to postpone implementation of the deal for 90 days is all the deference Congress should expect. In reality, the Administration has no real practical reason not to ensure the deal makes it through the UN; they had the power to make the agreement, and they’re confident that they’ll be able to veto any opposition.

It’s a risky game, but since when has Barack Obama ever been risk-averse when it comes to messing with the Constitutional balance of power?

Via The American Interest:

Dissing Congress is a risky move for American presidents. There have been widespread reports that many Democrats on Capitol Hill would like to support the President’s Iran policy, but are worried about the political fallout among voters back home. In the end, many of these waverers would probably support the President on the Iran deal in a straight up Congressional vote, but if the President does an end run to the Security Council, the waverers could—and many will—oppose him on procedural grounds. Both the Senate and the House are jealous of their Constitutional prerogatives, and voting to uphold the powers of Congress is a much easier vote for Democrats than voting against the President on an important foreign policy issue.

This is not likely to end well. President Obama was stretching both his Constitutional powers and his political mandate when he decided to short circuit the treaty process for one of the most important decisions that American foreign policy has taken in many years.

The Interest piece goes on to make an important point—that the expansion of executive authority over a period of years has put us in the position we’re in now. By all accounts, a deal of this size and scope should come before Congress in the form of a treaty. Obama, however, knew that he’d never get the 2/3 of the Senate it would take to approve such a treaty, so he pitched and ran with it in the form of an executive-type agreement. The Corker-Melendez agreement will give Congress a voice on the deal, but Obama has promised to veto any actionable opposition.

This is what unilateral action looks like. Even if this were the most perfect deal in the world, I would still agree with the Interest piece’s assertion that this is the wrong way to make sure it gets implemented. This isn’t just about one bill, or one agreement; it’s about future bills and agreements that could (and most likely will) be evaluated within the scope of what Obama has done.

That broadening of executive power could prove to be more dangerous to the United States than a fully nuclear Iran.


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They should call for a vote immediately and reject it before they even read it. Reading things before you pass judgment on them is so yesterday.

“If Obama chooses the UN over Congress, what next?”

Umm, Secretary-General of the un? Gosh, they will just love Michelle’s menu’s.

‘No Steak For You!’ ‘I’ve made you arugula cupcakes’..

With the passage of the Corker bill, the Republicans have already, sight unseen, approved this agreement. All the noise now is Kabuki theater.

DINORightMarie | July 19, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Congress threw their power away, giving it to the Obama.

When they voted to NOT require this to have a 2/3 majority treaty vote, they gave the Executive Branch the power to do this.

And this was PREDICTED. How INCREDIBLY stupid, idiotically and DANGEROUSLY stupid, this Congress is!!

Mark Levin, on his radio show, shouted (literally) about this every night………and, yet, it was like Cicero warning about Caesar, like John the Baptist, like one “crying into the wilderness…..”

No one listened who had the ability to do anything.

And, as Mark said in his first hour on his show last Friday night, the UN will vote on this – tomorrow – and Congress will be able to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Their 60 days and vote will be for show; the UN, the other countries involved in this horrendous agreement (which IS a treaty) will DEMAND that Congress not stop it. And, should this weak-willed wimp-leader-led Congress muster the votes to stop him…..he will OVERRIDE them.

Game. Set. Match.

And they didn’t even see it. Pathetic. Frightening.

The Birch Society had it right years ago. “Get US out of the UN, and get the UN out of the US.”

The UN was intentionally sited (money to buy the East River property was supplied by the internationalist-minded Rockefellers) in the USA as a stab to the heart. The League of Nations was originally sited in Switzerland, but when the US Senate rejected (1919) the Versailles Treaty (of which the League of Nations was a part), the elitists knew something more drastic had to be foisted in order to lure the USA into world government. That drastic measure, which most people refer to as World War 2, did the trick.[*] The 1945 Senate vote to enter the UN was 89 t0 2.

Without question Obama thinks more of the UN than of the USA. As of today it’s effectively run by the Muslim voting bloc (some 55 votes which ALWAYS votes the same way – just ask Israel) and its dependable totalitarian UN members (e.g, Cuba, North Korea, China, et alia). Obama is extremely, extremely sympathetic to Islam and its practitioners.

[*] Ask yourself this question: How does a painter-of-street-scenes-of-Vienna, unemployed following his 1918 discharge from his rank of corporal rise from that lowly station in life to Chancellor of Germany 14 years later? Perhaps he had a little help from friends who thought a world government was a pretty good idea?

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to pfg. | July 19, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Perhaps he had a little help from friends who thought a world government was a pretty good idea?

    With Berlin as the capital. And somewhat more de facto than de jure.

Sammy Finkelman | July 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Obama seems prepared to approve a United Nations Security Council resolution (whose exact text was negotiated with Iran) on Monday maybe.

That allows Obama to change the argument since most of the sanctions are gone anyway (or scheduled to be gone) erven if the U.S. backs out (which Obama won’t do)

What Congress can do, maybe, though, is cause the Iranians to reject the agreement, whch would have the effect if keeping the sanctions in place.

How so?

Congress could pass a Joint Resolution stating that Iran does not have immunity from having sanctions placed on it for any other reason.

(plus a few other ideas)

And furthermore that this agreement is not legally binding.

And that our interest does not end after 10 or 15 years.

And that if Iran looks like it might move toward a nuclear bomb, it is the sense of the Congress that sanctions should be imposed even before the agreement expires.

It would be argued that all this goes without saying, but this would stiffen the spine of future U.S. officeholders.

And Obama cannot veto any such resolution.

If then Iran in fact, then, rejects the whole agreement, as the administration would likely argue would happen if such a Joint Resolution is passed, we are back to where we would be if Congress could reject the agreement, and the sanctions stay in place.

And if not, the situation is also much better than if Congress does not pass it. The U.S. then has a much stronger hand.

    clafoutis in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | July 20, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Refreshing strategic thinking: “motivate’ the Iranians to break the deal right out of the box.

    Game-changer. Face-saver. Wishful-thinking?

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to clafoutis. | July 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      The Iranians may not actually back out of the deal right out of the box – although the way they have been talking most of the time it might sound like they might – but it would change the nature of the deal.

      By stressing that we want more and we’re prepared to impose more sanctions and that the deal is only day to day we would not lose anything at all.

      And when I say more santions, this includes sanctions others impose/

As Dino notes upthread, Congress already gave away their power on this deal. Ace has a good post up explain all of what we are seeing now is just Failure Theater:

“The vote is not in fact to be had; the vote of course already was had, two months ago, when Bob Corker proposed the “compromise” that said that deal would become law automatically, subject to a negative vote by Congress, but Obama gets to veto that, meaning Obama only needs one third support in both bodies to carry the day.

This is an inversion of the usual scheme wherein it requires a two thirds positive vote to carry the day in his favor; a mere one third minority could have blocked him.

No more. A one-third minority now wins the day for him.

So the actual vote, the actual History, the important deed, passed by two months ago when few of us were paying attention.

The coming vote will be the performance of Failure Theater, debuting to a world hungry for some dramatic political entertainment; but plays are of course scripted, and thus, their conclusions are foreordained, and this particular bit of stagecraft was written and finalized months ago by Bob Corker, with every single Republican voting in favor of it, save one — Tom Cotton — who objected, and save another, Ted Cruz, who made himself absent.

The vote was already had. The event has already passed. Law was already made and the trajectory of America was already changed.

But now will come the Performance aspect of it, the actual theatrical production, which we’ll all watch, because They know we are first and foremost Spectators, and we are suckers for Spectacle, and Drama.”

Sam in Texas | July 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm

Because of the Porker bill changing from 2/3 of the Senate to approve a treaty to 2/3 of both houses to veto this treaty, the BO Iran deal is done as far as the US is concerned. All this hoop-tee-do is totally irrelevant and meaningless. When Congress passed the Porker bill, it approved whatever Iran deal BO and Jungle John came up with.

The Dems would vote for the agreement even if Obama has the UN give its imprimatur first. Even more reason to do so, in their minds.

What next? The answer in two words: Bohner, McConnell. In other words, NOTHING.

If we continue to tolerate these two a-holes, we deserve what comes our way: fascists of the UN will control our country without firing a shot.

No legislation, including Corker Menendez, changes the Constitution. The Constitution requires treaties to be submitted to the Senate, subject to a 2/3 vote. Nothing in the Constitution addresses “not treaties” being submitted to the entire Congress. Boehner and McConnell, if they are true to their oaths, will tell Obama to submit the treaty to the Senate, or consider himself in violation of the Constitution. Period. And if they don’t do that, they’re as guilty as him.

    steffmckee in reply to FrankNatoli. | July 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    They’ll soil themselves like they’ve been doing since 2009.

    MattMusson in reply to FrankNatoli. | July 20, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Sorry. UN treaties become law as soon as they are signed by the chief executive – according to accords signed by the USA. They remain in effect until they are voted down by Congress or repudiated by the Chief Executive. So – they are International Law.

    Remember 80% of the international agreements are NEVER submitted to Congress for a vote. They are just accepted. C

      FrankNatoli in reply to MattMusson. | July 20, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Sorry, nothing. No law, no executive order, can transfer Constitutional power, neither between the branches of government, nor to outside entities such as the United Nations.

      When the Republican Gingrich Congress gave the Democrat President Clinton a line item veto, SCOTUS eventually found that transfer of Constitutional authority, from the legislative to the executive, unconstitutional.

      Absent a Constitutional amendment, giving the United Nations authority over the United States, all authority rests with the Constitution, period.

      Milhouse in reply to MattMusson. | July 21, 2015 at 11:51 pm

      There’s no such thing as “UN treaties”. No treaty ever becomes law unless the senate ratifies it.

    Milhouse in reply to FrankNatoli. | July 21, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    No, nothing changes the constitution, but there’s nothing in the constitution that requires the president to handle this as a treaty. He is completely within his constitutional rights to just treat it as a private agreement, and use his statutory power to waive the sanctions. Corker-Menendez removed that power from him for 60 days, to give Congress a chance to pass a law forbidding him to waive the sanctions. That’s all. Either such a law passes, and survives a veto, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t then once the 60 days run out 0bama remains with his power that he always had to waive the sanctions, and the constitution does not give Congress any further say in the matter. It never did.

It’s not a treaty, it’s an agreement. Between the government of Iran and Mr. Barack Obama.

It can’t in any way constrain the next President.

But it was never supposed to.

It’s about two things: For Iran, it’s about ending the sanctions. For Obama, it’s about his legacy, and being as good a President as Jimmy Carter, who really did negotiate an important Middle East peace agreement.

One of them is going to get what they wanted.

    Carter got a peace treaty. Obama unleashed the devil on the free world. And Obama got exactly what he wanted: a weak, now-vulnerable America, and an Israel facing extinction.

    He is a lunatic no less then Iran’s lunatic mullahs.

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to | July 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm


      Who was president in 1979 when the Iranian regime csme into power – Obama or Carter?

      Who sent Alexander Haig to lobby the Iranian military not to overthrow the new government?

      They didn’t, and they all got executed.

the Corker deal doesn’t apply to this agreement … it was very specifically limited to any “nuclear” deal … with the arms embargo and ICBM sections and terrorism sanctions reliefs it clearly is more than a nuclear deal …

inspectorudy | July 20, 2015 at 12:53 am

Watching obama play Congress like children is sickening. He knows that once the UN approves it, and we all know they will, the Demorats will use the UN approval to persuade the weak minded members in the Senate. Is there one member of the Republican Senate that knows how to play poker?

Subotai Bahadur | July 20, 2015 at 1:34 am

Dissing Congress is a risky move for American presidents.

Dissing THIS Congress is absolutely risk free for Obama. He has been doing it for his entire term. And they have been bending over and asking begging for more. They have not opposed him in anything yet, and they have no intention of doing it now. This is a Democrat controlled Congress, regardless of where McConnell and Boehner have offices.

Dissing Congress is a risky move for American presidents…

Not when Barney Fife is Squeaker of the House.

Isn’t the U.N. supposed to weaken national governments? And haven’t Boehner and McConnell ceded power to him over and over again anyway? Why wouldn’t Obama go to the more important authority first?

Splendid commentary. Would have given multiple ‘likes’ to many of the comments above, but will have to settle for one.

From today ’til the end of BHO’s reign will be increasingly scary for what’s left the form and spirt of the government the founders gave us.

Yes, realize that much of that form and spirt has been chipped away by past Congresses and Administrations, BHO has just illustrated how an socialist/internationalist ideologue overthrows the last vestiges of the founders thinking. .

Congress is like the snake that eats its tail ! They are irrelevant……..much noise signifying nothing !!!

Midwest Rhino | July 20, 2015 at 10:42 am

“Obama, however, knew that he’d never get the 2/3 of the Senate it would take to approve such a treaty, so he pitched and ran with it in the form of an executive-type agreement.”

So despite the Corker deal, this is still not a treaty, but an executive agreement. (I think) Wouldn’t it have taken two thirds to override an executive agreement anyway? Only a real treaty needs two thirds to approve?

I’m not clear on that part, but everyone keeps saying Congress ceded power two months ago. But this still won’t be a treaty, so it can be reversed by the next president (most cows out of the barn, no real snap back), and must have a different level of clout, being only an executive agreement.

Releasing the frozen $100B would seem to still have to go through congress. The big cat they don’t want to let out of the bag is all the Congressional placed sanctions and the $100B (or whatever) frozen in US banks. (Obama was never going to bomb Iran anyway) It doesn’t seem an executive order overrides that, unless that was part of the Corker deal, which would make that just a politically covert surrender.

And as dorsaighost says above, it seems the Corker deal doesn’t even apply to this much broader “surrender”. So an executive order can NOT give Iran their $100B, as I see it. But interpreting the actual language is over my head, I’m just trying to understand the various opinions. KT McFarland was on FOX this morning saying something about “90 days, it’s complicated”. Unless she meant the 60 days which I’d heard of.

It seems Obama is out threatening Congress maybe because it is not a done deal yet, even though he certainly must have at least one third.