This little gem was in my e-mail this morning, courtesy the ForiegnPolicy.com MidEast Brief:
U.S. President Barack Obama made a rare threat to veto legislation after a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran if an interim nuclear agreement fails. Despite pressure from the Obama administration, on Thursday a group of 26 republican and democratic senators filed a bill, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, targeting Iran’s oil exports and penalizing its engineering, mining, and construction industries.
It’s bi-partisan! This is exactly what he wanted! Democrats and Republicans working together on an agenda that makes things better. So, of course, when a good bi-partisan idea is pushed forward, it’s not cool at all. Perhaps the bolded (by me) sentence below can explain why.
Additionally, it would give the senate a voice in any final nuclear agreement with Iran. The sanctions would not take effect before the end of the six-month term of the interim deal. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the “action is unnecessary” and could “disrupt the opportunity here for a diplomatic resolution.” Additionally, Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor, said, “We just can’t have new sanctions during this period.”
There’s the rub. The executive branch doesn’t want to give up any power or influence so that they can take all the credit. Unless, of course, it fails, in which case, he can blame Congress for not working with him. And, below, is a sentence by a man I never really thought I’d come close to agreeing with.
One of the bill’s main supporters, Senator Robert Menedez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement, “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table, and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith.”
In other words, we totally trust that Iran is completely in on not violating the agreement, the Obama Administration says. Top Democrats who deal with foreign policy on a regular basis (something I don’t think Obama could claim anymore, if he ever could) say this is a bad idea. I am being forced to agree with Bob Menendez and I am not happy about it. The least Obama could do is just admit I’m right in doing so and let this thing happen.
The problem here, as hinted at above, is pride. It’s a problem the president has been dealing with all presidency long. And, up until recently, he was 100% backed by the other Democrats in the legislative branch. But pride cometh before the Fall of 2014. Hopefully.