Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was one of a handful of Republican Senators who didn’t sign the open letter advising Iran that a nuclear agreement wouldn’t bind the next president unless the Senate ratified it. Reportedly, Corker thought the letter would hurt his efforts to gain support from Senate Democrats of his Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which requires the president to submit to Congress the text of whatever accord he reaches with Iran. Corker is aiming not just for the 60 votes needed to pass this legislation, but the 67 required to override President Obama’s veto.
I respect Sen. Corker and admire much of his work on the Foreign Relations Committee. But the quest for a veto-proof majority of a bill slapping down President Obama this hard seems like a fool’s errand. It reminds me of former Senator Landrieu’s failed last-ditch attempt to win enough Democratic support to pass Keystone pipeline legislation. But considering the magnitude of the blow Corker wants to inflict on Obama, his quest looks even more futile.
Matthew Continetti, in an article called “Corker’s Folly,” demonstrates the problem. He points out, for example, that Senators Tim Kaine and Michael Bennet have signed on to Corker’s legislation. Yet, there is no realistic chance that these two “Obamabots” (Continetti’s word) would humiliate the president by overriding his veto on an issue of this magnitude.
Corker may have had additional reasons for not signing Tom Cotton’s letter, but the desire to promote the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act doesn’t hold up as a rationale. Some Democrats may cite the letter, but if it didn’t exist they would find some other reason not to buck Obama.