Congress in a Deal Pickle

Barb Wire

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood isn’t the only headache Republicans are dealing with this month. The President’s Iran deal is a raw one for America — and members of both parties know it. While the two sides gear up for the first 11 hours of what is sure to be heated debate, thousands of Americans are flooding the West Lawn of the Capitol for a “Stop Iran” rally.

And according to experts, there’s no reason Congress can’t do exactly that. While President Obama cheered what many believed to be the 41 votes he needs to shake hands with Iran’s radical regime, National Review Institute’s Andrew McCarthy posted a powerful pair of columns on why Obama’s deal is far from settled. “All that the Republican-controlled Congress has to do, if it really wants to derail this thing,” he writes, “is follow the law that they wrote and Obama signed, the Corker law — the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review of 2015.” Under the “Corker legislation,” as it’s being called, the President was ordered to provide any and all details between related parties by July 19.

He hasn’t. As members have come to find out, Secretary of State John Kerry has kept busy cutting quite a few side deals — none of which Congress was privy to when the clock started on a legislative response earlier this summer. Not only does that mean the 30-day window for congressional review should be reset, but it also means that conservatives have plenty of options for fighting the deal. Why aren’t Republican leaders using them? According to McCarthy, the GOP is too busy “helping the President do what he wants to do.”

“‘Surrender… Then Play-Fight’ is Republican leadership’s shameful approach to ‘governing.’ The quotes around ‘governing’ are intentional,” he jabs. “After voters, having trusted the GOP’s 2014 campaign promises to block Obama’s agenda, gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) notoriously said that the party’s primary objective was to show the public that it could ‘govern.’

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As I countered at the time, this was gibberish. Governing is principally an executive exercise. Presidents govern, while legislators prescribe. Prescribing law and monitoring the administration’s execution of it are crucial functions, but they are not governing, because lawmakers are powerless to carry out policy.” Anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention to Congress these past few years has watched this same scenario play out over ObamaCare, immigration, abortion, and now Iran. McCarthy explains:

“Obama wants to do something bad. The Republicans decide to let him do it, while appearing to oppose it. Why? Maybe because they secretly agree that it should be done but know it will infuriate their base (think: raising the debt ceiling). Maybe because, although Republicans know it is bad, they are less concerned about the danger to the country than about the media-Left wrath that will rain down on them if they block Obama.

Making a calculation rooted in politics rather than statesmanship, they conclude: It’s better to let the bad thing happen than be blamed for ‘gridlock,’ ‘partisanship,’ etc.; plus, if they can pull off the ‘enable Obama while ostensibly opposing Obama’ trick, their empty rhetorical opposition will poll better than taking real steps to stop the president (think: Iran deal).”

Unfortunately for those leaders, the American people — including our own Ken Blackwell and Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who spoke at today’s rally — aren’t about to let the President get away with succumbing to a nation who chants “Death to America.” If the GOP is smart, it won’t either.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
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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