As we should have come to expect by now, the latest news coming out of Capitol Hill on the Iran Deal is not good. We have already discussed on the Front Page how [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] and the Senate Republican leadership are giving up the fight, but with more and more Democrats coming out in support of the deal as the days go by, it looks like it won’t even matter how many Republicans oppose the deal. An article appearing in the Financial Times recently paints a bleak picture:
Some Democratic Senate aides believe there could even be enough support in the party to filibuster a resolution against the deal, which would mean the president would not need to actually wield a veto in order to secure his second term foreign policy priority.
Democratic aides in Congress say party leaders are working hard to convince undecided members to support the deal and are still wary that new revelations could alter the political debate in Washington, but they are growing increasingly confident that the agreement will survive.
And furthermore, it’s looking more and more likely that Senate Democrats will find at least 34 votes among them to uphold a veto and keep the agreement:
Congress has until mid-September to review the Iran agreement, which was reached last month, and to potentially vote on a resolution blocking the deal. To override a veto from the president, 67 senators and 290 members of the House of Representatives would need to vote against the agreement.
Needing only 34 votes in the Senate to sustain a veto and maintain the agreement, the White House now has 29 senators supporting the agreement and another four who are leaning towards supporting, according to the Washington Post, with eight other Democrats still undecided.
Astute observers of Washington politics should not be surprised by this. Unlike so many other cases, blocking the Iran Deal has always been within the realm of possibility, but thanks to weak Republican leadership and Democrats dedicated to protecting their President, the Iran deal succeeding despite the opposition of a majority of Congress has always been the more likely outcome. Make no mistake, though: the Iran Deal will succeed largely due to the abdication any true leadership by [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001071′ ]. As streiff points out, they should have insisted that the deal be treated as a treaty–the traditional and Constitutional way. Instead, Congress, specifically the Senate, abrogated its Constitutional duty in favor of a Kabuki theater review process that the Obama administration will certainly ignore if, by some miracle, the Senate still rejects the bill. If you need a refresher as to why it is so wrong, Andrew McCarthy at the National Review has written several excellent pieces explaining the Corker process’ flaws, but this particular bit is most important:
Instead of being considered as a treaty, which would require Obama to persuade 67 senators to approve it, the Iran deal would be considered as regular legislation. That means Democrats could stop the Senate from voting on it at all: the 54 seats Republicans control are enough for a majority but six shy of the 60 necessary to invoke cloture and force a vote. Moreover, even if Democrats deign to allow a vote, Obama will simply veto any “resolution of disapproval” Republicans manage to pass.
Republicans would need 13 Democrats in the Senate and 43 in the House to defect from Obama in order to override the veto. That will never happen. On that score, I cannot help but note an irony.
This is the core essence of McConnell and Corker’s Constitutional abrogation, and they and the rest of the Republican leadership are the ones we should be blaming for the eventual enactment of the Iran Deal. We cannot blame Senator Chuck Schumer for not whipping his side for votes against the deal. After all, it is highly unlikely even in the most ideal situation that he could talk 11 other Democrats to join him and Senator Bob Menendez in opposing the deal. That’s probably why Schumer felt it was acceptable to oppose the deal, since he has a future election for party leader to deal with.
President Obama and Secretary Kerry should rightly be blamed for negotiating this horrible deal, but it is the Republican leadership in the Senate that ensured its passage through their house by authorizing Corker’s process. Iran is getting the bomb, and we can blame Republicans for it.