President Obama, despite his claims to want bipartisanship, has picked another battle with Senate Republicans, this time concerning negotiations with Iran over it’s nuclear program. Senator Lindsey Graham wants Congress to consider imposing new sanctions on Iran, which announced construction of two nuclear plants just one day before Secretary of State John Kerry and the Iranians resumed talks in Geneva, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The Senator reasoned that such sanctions would show “we would like a political negotiation, a diplomatic solution… Congress is intent on reapplying sanctions if you walk away from the negotiating table if you cheat.”
However the President once again shows he is more willing to negotiate with Dictators than with Congress by issuing a veto threat. White House aide Dan Pfeiffer than went further and attempted to preempt any Congressional action when he said Graham “would like to make all foreign policy decisions… and be the commander in chief… it’s the President’s authority.” The President showing no shame, joined in with a little demagoguery saying in effect ‘do the negotiations my way or we will have to go to war’.
All of this bluster doesn’t change article II section 2 of the Constitution which Says “He (the President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators concur.” Graham’s suggested course of action would fall into the Advice clause of that section and having the ability to vote yes or no to any treaty would fall under the consent clause. How does that infringe on the President’s authority?
This President however has a history of usurping Congressional authority. He unilaterally changes his signature achievement Obamacare, refuses to enforce current immigration laws by granting de facto amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and using Recess appointments while Congress was still in session. The Senate should follow through with their Constitutional duty to take part in treaty negotiations. If the President vetoes their actions they have the obligation to vote against any treaty the President brings them.