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Brave: Two Freshmen Dems Will Oppose Iran Deal

Brave: Two Freshmen Dems Will Oppose Iran Deal

It’s not easy for a freshman to stand up to leadership

Both Rep. Donald Norcross (D – N.J.) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D – Pa.) have announced that they will stand on principle and oppose the nuclear deal with Iran (a/k/a, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.) I know almost nothing about either of these legislators, but I have tremendous respect for them. They are both freshmen and yet they have both announced that they will stand against their party’s leader, President Barack Obama, even though the President has made it clear that the JCPOA is a priority. I have little doubt that both men understand the risk; the administration has made it clear that it will not tolerate apostasy.

I give a lot of credit to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) too, because he may have jeopardized his chances of a spot in the leadership by announcing his opposition to the JCPOA. The New York Daily News reported:

Josh Earnest, President Obama’s spokesman, ripped Schumer Friday after the senior New York senator broke with the President over the nuclear deal with Iran.

Earnest all but encouraged Senate Democrats to consider Schumer’s opposition to the pact when they vote next year to elect a new Democratic leader.

Earnest said he “would not be surprised” if Democrats consider Schumer’s stance on Iran when that vote occurs, and noted the White House has not taken a position on the leadership election.

The Daily News defended Schumer in an editorial; the White House remained silent on the disgusting attacks levied against him.

Schumer, to be sure, deserves credit for risking a coveted position to stand on principle, but he’s established; Norcross and Boyle are not.

Both Norcross and Boyle had well-considered statements opposing the JCPOA. Norcross delivered his at a synagogue in Cherry Hill, N.J., outside of Philadelphia.

Iran must never be allowed to become a nuclear threat to the world. Not today. Not ten or fifteen years from now. Never.

The Iranian regime is a known sponsor of terrorism that has made no secret of its hatred for both the United States and Israel. Providing relief for them by lifting economic sanctions now essentially rewards past behavior and infuses billions of dollars into the their economy that could be used to buy more weapons and outsource more terror. Moreover, the deal does not provide enough assurance that Iran will be restricted from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. So this windfall may ultimately help fund their nuclear ambitions.

In April, prior to the announcement of a deal, I wrote a letter to President Obama, voicing my concerns over the negotiations with Iran and missed deadlines. In it, I outlined my belief that an acceptable deal would be long-term and fully transparent, and would provide for the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program verified by intrusive inspections in exchange for phased sanctions relief. Unfortunately, the JCPOA falls short in each of these criteria.

It’s interesting that Norcross emphasized the missed deadlines. The original Joint Plan of Action was approved in November 2013, but the rollout didn’t begin until January 2014. It was supposed last for six months, with options to renew the term. Instead of reaching agreements, the administration allowed Iran to miss deadlines.

Nothing says that you want a deal at any cost like letting the other side miss its deadlines with no penalty.

He also was clear that any deal that would allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon is a bad deal.

Boyle’s opposition was announced in an op-ed over the weekend. His opposition was more detailed than was Norcross’; he shared Norcross’ objection to allowing Iran to benefit via billions of unfrozen assets. His other objections addressed the 24 day notice given to Iran before inspections can take place, and the lifting of limits on Iran’s nuclear program after 15 years.

Both Norcross and Boyle took to heart President Obama’s acknowledgement that in the later years of the deal, Iran would have breakout times that “would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

Boyle went further than to just list his objections to the deal; he also pushed back against two of the assertions made by the administration in defense of the deal. First, he argued that there is an alternative to the deal.

When faced with objections to the agreement, proponents often ask: So what is the alternative? They argue that the deal, as flawed as it may be, is still preferable to no deal. But this is simply not so.

We would be better off with no deal, which would ensure that Iran does not get $56 billion it can use to funnel to Hamas and Hezbollah. While some of the international sanctions would fray if the deal were rejected (especially those from Russia and China), our sanctions would remain. I would much prefer the imperfect status quo over a post-agreement world in which Iran is flush with cash for its terror proxies and free to develop a full-fledged nuclear program in merely 15 years.

As to the administration’s argument that the alternative to the deal is war, Boyle wrote that the opposite is true.

Releasing billions of dollars to Iran will result in more rockets in Lebanon and Gaza. These will be used against Israel, as similar weapons have been for the last seven years. With more cash for more rockets, these attacks will likely happen again, increasing the odds that Israel again will respond militarily. Only this time, the Israeli wars with Lebanon and Gaza will last longer, and there will be higher casualty numbers.

Boyle is the sixth Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to announce his or her opposition to the JCPOA.

Maybe in the end, both Norcross and Boyle will emerge from this political battle unscathed—and I hope that they do. They did something rare in politics: they stood up for principle in spite of the likely cost.

[Photo: Donald Norcross / YouTube ]


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Welcome to “the crazies” club, gentlemen..

“LAS VEGAS — There are the people on his side on the Iran deal, President Barack Obama said Monday evening. Then there are “the crazies.”

Gird up your loins people, the ride here in the USA, ain’t gonna’ be fun until 1/20/2017 and probably for quite a spell after that date.

    Owego in reply to JP. | August 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Your second thought is a certainty. Cleaning up the mess of the past eight years is going to be long, disruptive, and difficult. OTH, if any Democrat now even considering running were to end up in the White House, there’s no reason to believe that the great American Experiment is not over.

Sammy Finkelman | August 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

I don’t know if they stood up for principle. This is probably the safer course for them. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t principled – and the members of Congress woud certainly want to make it appear they decided based upon involved reasoning, rather than political reasons, but I don’t see where necessarily they “stood up” to anything.

The House leadership wants to have Democratic members more than it wants every vote of every Democrat. They want to win every vote, but they don’t need to have every member of their caucus vote for something. In this case, all they need is one third of the House plus a safe margun. They can afford to lose up to 44 Democrats in an override vote.

There’s no reason to suppose any great pressure was put on them. Freshmen are the most vulnerable to not winning re-election and there may be a real Republican challenge in their districts.

It’s more probable than not that no pressure, except maybe to consider carefully, was put on them. They’d let them be the judge of what could damage their re-election prospects.

It’s not like it was with President Clinton in 1993 with Democratic House female members, where one person (now the mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton) pretty much deliberately gave up her seat to give Clinto a vote on the budget. (Clinton deliberately arranged things to win by one vote in the both the House and the Senate)

They’d put pressure on members who don’t risk losing re-election, or who have only a small risk.

The pressure would consist of not giving favorable committee assignments, or fewer whatever form earmarks takes these days.

And these two, being freshmen, haven’t got much to lose in the form of sub-committee chairmanships or political influence.

    David Gerstman in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | August 25, 2015 at 10:15 am

    There was a California freshman who was told to vote for the deal or his career was over. So he supported the deal. Maybe the administration didn’t take the same approach to these two. But Boyle is on Foreign Affairs/Middle East and Norcross is on Armed Services. I assume that those are good assignments. (Boyle also is 38, and presumably has ambitions beyond Congress.)

There is no a more vindictive organism‎ than the democrat party but the GOP establishment comes in as a close second…

Barracula and his Mad Deal are on the wrong side of history.

The legendary Sam Rayburn was challenged by President Wilson over an issue and stood up to him and went on to have a pretty good career.

This issue is so explosive, in all senses of the term, that it may be the death warrant for the democrat party in the next election.

Means Obama has the deal in the bag. Letting a few cast symbolic votes against it–no longer matters.

Courageous? Not in my book. Courage would be the 67th vote in the Senate. Which Schumer isn’t.

Good on the youngsters and, much as I hate to say it, Chuck Schumer too. As in the piece, we continue to hear that he may have jeopardized his opportunity for leadership but I’m not so sure. As I said last week, he just may have provided cover the youngsters need to resist pressure from the old line Democrat Obama sycophants and lackeys. He and they have made a mess of everything they’ve touched over the last six years and it’s all coming out now, most recently the economy where Janet Yellin is between a rock and a hard place.

The Iran deal is atrocious enough on its face, alone, but each turn of the calendar reveals a new secret side-deal-of-the-week, each worse than its predecessor and too important to have been made public.

They might consider some philosophical advice from Yogi: if this is a fork in the road for thoughtful Democrats, they should take it and, hang in there because “it ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

The Iran Agreement is something promoted by The O to promote his people the Muslims & carried out by a lackey wimp named Kerry. It is a Joke & the whole world is laughing at us. Who ever heard of someone working on Nuclear development making their own inspections and reporting them to the world. This is funny when you review their track record. I resent our tax dollars being spent on ads promoting a pending Treaty in Congress. The Pres. has been threatening & intimidating the Politicians, SCOTUS and all of the people for 7 years. This is besides all of the ” Bold Faced Lies,” that he has told Everyone. Whose side are our Leaders On?

We should ask Mitch McConnell why he is helping the Tyrant ram this “agreement” down our throats. He could easily kill it, but is refusing to do so.

All he has to do is declare that this agreement is a treaty requiring Senate ratification and then hold a ratification vote. It will be rejected and become null and void. There is nothing that the Tyrant could do to stop this.

The only reason that McConnell could have for not doing this is that he wants to join the Tyrant in betraying his country. Someone should ask him about this.

    Milhouse in reply to ConradCA. | August 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    All he has to do is declare that this agreement is a treaty requiring Senate ratification and then hold a ratification vote. It will be rejected and become null and void.

    The result of a failed ratification vote is exactly the same as not submitting it in the first place, i.e. what we have now. It would remain an agreement that the president has made, and that he has the power to implement without anyone’s permission. There is nothing McConnell can do about that. The only people who can prevent it are 2/3 of each house voting first to strip 0bama’s power to waive sanctions, and then to override his veto. And that means 13 D senators and 44 D reps.