By Tony Perkins
President Obama would like nothing better than to shake himself of that pesky institution known as the U.S. Congress. And for six years, he’s done an admirable job — trampling their authority on everything from health care to immigration. But when a matter of national security — or, in this case, national survival — hangs in the balance, conservatives refuse to sit on their hands and watch the White House negotiate away America’s future with Iran.
To the Left’s outrage, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and veteran, is demanding some accountability from the President in his talks with one of the world’s largest state sponsors of terrorism. In a letter with 46 other GOP senators, Sen. Cotton fired off a rare letter to Iranian leaders explaining that the Senate will have to approve any deal the President strikes with their country.
The international community and congressional Democrats let out a collective gasp at the idea, suggesting that these senators were out of line for elbowing their way into the conversation. But, as Sen. Cotton is quite comfortable explaining, “the critical role of Congress in the adoption of international agreements was clearly laid out by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution.” And while Iranian leaders may not understand that, the President should.
To his critics, Cotton had this to say: “I do not take my obligations as a senator lightly. Nor do those who are signatories to the letter. If the President won’t share our role in the process with his negotiating partner, we won’t hesitate to do it ourselves.” Under the current deal, President Obama seems prepared to make the concessions Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned again — including letting Iran keep its “uranium enrichment capabilities,” putting it one step closer to a nuclear weapon. Apparently, the U.N. is supposed to take word of President Rouhani that his nation won’t use that program for evil — which as anyone who follows Iran knows, is a huge risk.
The other reality is that this White House is on the brink of a deal that relaxes the sanctions on Rouhani while the Iranians are holding an American citizen prisoner. While President Obama has managed to work in a reference to Pastor Saeed Abedini in a speech or two, he should make clear the United States will not engage in further negotiations until this innocent American is free.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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