On Tuesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to end debate on the Corker-Menendez bill seeking to give Congress some leverage in a final Iran deal.
Whether this week or next, the bill will likely pass overwhelmingly and go to the House. "I believe we have a strong, bipartisan majority prepared to advance legislation that will guarantee Congress–on behalf of the American people–will have the opportunity to review any nuclear agreement with Iran while restricting the president's ability to immediately waive congressional sanctions," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told Right Turn. "The sooner we enact this bill, the sooner we can send a clear signal to Iran that Congress will play a role, which will give our negotiators a stronger hand at the table."
A small segment of the GOP caucus still thinks it's in the minority, since for freshmen senators, that's all they have known. Threatening to wreck a bipartisan bill, embarrass leadership and maneuver the other side into taking hard votes are minority party stunts. Thankfully, most of the GOP Senate has become disgusted with such conduct and wants to move the ball forward, showing that Congress has the capacity to work its will. When once being obstreperous earned you kudos, figuring out how to move good (albeit not perfect) legislation is now the goal. That is a huge improvement over how the Senate has behaved in recent years.
Republicans can begin immediately with oversight hearings so as to force the administration to justify the concessions it has already made. Congress needs to go through the framework point by point to question the administration as to why each deviation from prior positions is an acceptable move. The administration should also be forced to clarify whether at the end of 10 or 12 years' time Iran's breakout time will be zero. If the administration contends the deal will transform the nature of the regime (so things will be fine on the day Iran achieves breakout) it should provide any intelligence or other data to prove this is the case. If not, we are agreeing to give a despotic, Islamic terrorist state an improved economy, sanctions relief and the bomb.
Last year Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recommended, "If a final nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran does not meet a series of parameters that already has strong bipartisan support in Congress, the House and Senate should defend American sanctions against Iran and resist pressure to trade sanctions relief for a bad deal. However, should an acceptable agreement be reached that fully addresses Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Congress must play a role, in cooperation with the Obama administration, to construct and oversee a smart sanctions architecture of effective enforcement and relief."
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