Can and should Congress have the authority to have a say in the Iran nuclear deal? Or should the president have the power to pass the agreement without the approval, per se, of the Senate or...

Can and should Congress have the authority to have a say in the Iran nuclear deal? Or should the president have the power to pass the agreement without the approval, per se, of the Senate or Congressional majority.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Clearly, Congress can have a say in the Iran nuclear deal.  Congress and the President came to an agreement allowing Congress to have a vote on the deal.  The deal they made says that Congress can approve or disapprove of the deal, but that it disapproves the President can veto the resolution in which it does so.  In effect, what this means is that a 2/3 majority of each house of Congress would have to oppose the deal in order for it to be rejected.

The question of whether Congress should have a say in the deal is harder to answer.  I will give you an argument for each side and you can decide which makes more sense to you.  You can argue that Congress should have the right to decide on this deal because the Constitution gives the Senate the right to ratify or reject treaties.  Since the Iran nuclear deal is a deal made between countries, it should be submitted to the Senate just like a treaty.  The House would not have a say in this, but the Senate would have more of a say than it does now.

You can also argue that Congress should not have any say in this deal.  One reason for this is that this deal is not actually a treaty.  The Obama administration has set this up as a “political accord between governments” or an executive agreement and not a treaty.  Therefore, it does not need to be ratified.  This is something that presidents do relatively often.  A second reason that Congress should not have a say is that it is impossible to get 67 senators to agree on just about anything in our current, terribly partisan, situation.  If we only entered agreements that could get 67 senators’ approval, the US would be unable to make any important agreements with foreign governments.  Which of these arguments is more compelling to you?

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