The White House tried to demonize 47 Senate Republicans as traitors because they wrote an open letter explaining the important role that the Senate plays in any binding treaty. It looks as though the “traitor” list is about to get much longer, as a bipartisan group of over 300 Congressmen are preparing a letter of their own, reminding President Obama of the role that Congress must play in any meaningful agreement with Iran:
At a contentious House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear talks, several lawmakers insisted that Congress’ role in the negotiating process must not be marginalized.
Represenative Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he and Republican Chairman Ed Royce of California were sending a letter to President Barack Obama expressing their concerns about what needs to be in an Iran nuclear deal.
A draft of the letter emphasizes that permanent sanctions relief, which Iran has repeatedly requested during the Geneva negotiations, would require new legislation.
“In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that “Iran’s role in fomenting instability in the region … demonstrates the risks of negotiating with a partner we cannot trust.”
A spokesman for Engel told VOA that 363 House members, Republicans and Democrats, signed the letter.
“It’s truly a very bipartisan letter expressing Congress’ strong feelings about things that need to be in the agreement,” Engel said during the committee hearing. “Congress really needs to play a very active and vital role in this whole process, and any attempts to sidestep Congress will be resisted on both sides of the aisle [ by both Democrats and Republicans].”
Since no agreement now under discussion would “foreclose any pathway to a bomb,” Obama appears to be on a collision course with the House as well as the Senate.