Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker (R) and Democratic Senator from Maryland Ben Cardin (L) depart a press conference after a final vote on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act..
jim lo scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency
Sept. 10, 2015 8:09 p.m. ET
The Senate held its first showdown vote on the Iranian nuclear deal Thursday, with 58 Senators having declared their opposition, including four Democrats and Republican non-hawks like Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky. The American public is also overwhelmingly opposed, with a Pew poll this week finding 21% approval for the agreement versus 49% disapproval. So it says something about President Obama’s contempt for Congress that he browbeat and threatened 42 Democrats to filibuster the vote so he can duck having to veto a resolution of disapproval. The President may think he can spin 42 Senate votes into political vindication, and we’re sure he’ll get media support for that view. But Americans should read a filibuster as a tacit Democratic admission of no confidence in an agreement they fear voting on. It’s also an abdication—and a betrayal. In May the Senate voted 98-1 for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, better known for sponsors Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.), and Mr. Obama signed it. Historically, significant foreign agreements have been submitted to Congress as treaties, requiring two-thirds approval in the Senate.
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Wonder Land Columnist Dan Henninger on the potential political fallout from the White House’s nuclear pact. Photo credit: Associated Press.
The Administration knew it could never meet that threshold, devised by the founders so that binding agreements with foreign powers would have broad and enduring public support. Instead, it wanted to make a deal with Iran as an executive agreement, ratified not by Congress but by the U.N.’s Security Council. But only Congress can fully lift the sanctions it imposed on Iran, so Mr. Obama was forced to make his grudging nod to the co-equal branch. Now Mr. Obama is violating the law he signed, and Democrats are helping him do it. Corker-Cardin stipulates that the Administration must submit to Congress the full nuclear agreement, including any “side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered …Read More