Former Vice President Joe Biden has said that he intends to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate on his first day in office. He also wants to rejoin the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. President Donald Trump can deter him from doing both of these.
The answer: submit these agreements to the U.S. Senate for ratification, as per the Treaty Clause of the U.S. Constitution. President Barack Obama never did that with either agreement, because he knew the Senate would reject them. Trump can still trigger that rejection.
Paul Driessen at Townhall.com suggests that Trump should submit the Paris Agreement to the Senate, to make it more difficult for Biden to re-enter. The Senate could also reject it preemptively, as it did with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
The Paris Agreement was actually written specifically with the Senate in mind: many of its most important clauses were composed using non-binding language so that Obama could argue that he did not need to submit it for ratification. However, since Biden has made it clear that he intends to govern as if those clauses were binding on the U.S., the Paris Agreement is certainly within the Senate’s constitutional purview. It needs a two-thirds vote to take legal effect.
Likewise with the Iran deal, which concerns fundamental matters of national security. The Framers of the Constitution would never have considered such an agreement to be merely “executive,” subject to the whims of the president. Obama should have submitted it to the Senate. Even after Congress lowered the bar with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Obama signed, Democrats filibustered a vote on the deal. Trump should make clear: no Senate ratification, no Iran deal.
After a Senate rejection, Biden could still try to proceed with both the Paris Agreement and the Iran deal. But with the Senate refusing to ratify them, Biden would be on far shakier legal and constitutional ground if he tried to impose them on America.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.