Did the Senate just blow up the Iran nuclear deal?
The New York Times reports today:
President Obama will sign bipartisan compromise legislation on Iran if it emerges from committee as now formulated, the White House said, after Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee crafted an accord with overwhelming support.
While Mr. Obama is not “particularly thrilled” with the bill, said Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, he finds the new proposal put together by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a more acceptable measure that takes into account the concerns he had raised about the original.
“What we have made clear to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is that the president would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee today,” Mr. Earnest told reporters….
The agreement almost certainly means Congress — over the White House’s stern objections — will muscle its way into nuclear negotiations that Mr. Obama sees as a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement. It still must be voted on this afternoon, but leaders in both parties expressed their support. One senior Democratic aide said the bill would have overwhelming, veto-proof support in the full Senate.
Too many cooks spoil the broth, and that appears to be precisely what the Senate had in mind. Not just Israel’s friends in Congress, but the preponderance of the liberal foreign policy establishment worries that Obama has sacrificed urgent national security concerns out of personal ambition or sentiment. Steadfast Obama supporters like the Times’ Thomas Friedman expressed grave reservations, and the elders of the Republican establishment, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, authored an extraordinary joint statement published April 7 in the Wall Street Journal. 39 Senators and 447 Congressmen signed a letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran warning that a future administration might void the present deal.
Evidently Obama has concluded that a veto-proof majority in both Houses stood behind the Foreign Relations Committee bill, and reluctantly conceded. But that wrests control of the process out of the hands of the Administration. The Iran deal may have died this afternoon.