Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is a candidate to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as Senate Minority Leader, has reiterated his support for a bipartisan proposal to require President Barack Obama to submit to Congress any nuclear deal with Iran. Because President Barack Obama has promised to veto the legislation–known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act–Schumer’s position is seen as a rare moment of dissent. However, there may be less here than meets the eye.
Schumer’s likely opponent for Reid’s post is Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is also from a largely pro-Israel state. Yet as Richard Baehr points out, Schumer’s support for the bill might help it achieve a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but it has much less chance of overriding a veto in the House, due to the strength of the far left. Baher and others suggest that Schumer’s stance may just be a way of boosting his damaged pro-Israel credentials without actually stopping the Iran deal.
Ironically, the Corker bill may make it easier, not more difficult, for an Iran deal to be approved than it might be otherwise.
If the deal enters the ordinary legislative process, it would only need a majority vote to be approved, and a two-thirds majority in both houses to be rejected against the president’s veto. In contrast, if everyone simply stuck to the Constitution and regarded an Iran deal–appropriately–as a treaty, it would need a two-thirds majority in the Senate to succeed.
Thus there may be little significance at all in Schumer’s gesture. And to the extent that such theatrics suggest that Congress has no real intention of blocking the Iran deal, they make war in the Middle East more likely.
Israel cannot and will not live with an deal that could–by President Obama’s own estimation–allow Iran to become a nuclear power. If Congress will not stop the deal, Israel may feel that it has no option but to launch a pre-emptive military strike before that window closes.