“Obama Sees an Iran Deal Skirting Congress, For Now”
The New York Times, October 20, 2014, p.A4
“No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it. Even while negotiators argue over the number of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to spin and where inspectors could roam, the Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a ‘suspension’ of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say. But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote. … But many members of Congress see the plan as an effort by the administration to freeze them out, a view shared by some Israeli officials who see a congressional vote as the best way to constrain the kind of deal that Mr. Obama might strike.”
Quickie Analysis: Despite whatever Obama may do, Congress must eventually be allowed to exercise its constitutional right to impede US foreign policy. Better in the future, though, when circumstances might have changed, than now.