Back in April, radio talk show host Mark Levin exploded in anger, warning that the United States Senate had capitulated to Barack Obama and rewritten the U.S. Constitution by giving up its power to stop the dangerous nuclear deal between the United States and Iran.
As The New York Times reported, the GOP-led Senate agreed that Congress “would essentially be able to vote on an eventual end to sanctions and then later take up the issue, depending on whether Iran has met its own obligations.” The article adds, “But if it rejected the agreement, Mr. Obama could veto that legislation – and it would take only 34 senators to sustain the veto, meaning that Mr. Obama could lose upward of a dozen democratic senators and still prevail.”
In Levin’s fury at the GOP capitulation, he pointed out:
The United States Senate just rewrote the treaty provision of the Constitution. … These people in Washington, D.C., usurp the Constitution all the time. The treaty provision of the Constitution, (He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.) could not be clearer.
Levin quoted Alexander Hamilton from Federalist 75, who wrote:
The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue, which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the sole disposal of a magistrate, created and circumstanced, as would be a President of the United States.
Levin then thundered:
This crucial power must not belong to one man, to a president, it must be shared. … You see, ladies and gentlemen, the way it’s supposed to work, something this momentous, something this crucial in “changing the relationship” between the United States and Iran, requires more than an executive action; it requires more than a statute. It certainly requires more than the U.N.; it requires a treaty; a treaty that the Senate can vote up or down. … That’s the way the process is supposed to work.
But it won’t work in this instance for several reasons. Number one: You see, in the last weeks, this phony framework, where Obama, our “Supreme Leader,” and Iran’s Supreme Leader, are saying two different things about the same framework. Our imperial, lawless President, and their Islamo-Nazi leader can’t even agree on what they supposedly agreed on. That’s number one.
Number two: Your United States Senate, with a majority of Republicans, 54 Republicans, “Vote us in. vote us in. We’ll repeal Obamacare.” They didn’t. “We’ll cut spending.” They didn’t. “We’ll secure the border.” They won’t. Your Republican Senate has utterly and completely capitulated; I don’t care if it’s unanimous or not.
Congress gets to review this deal after June 30 for thirty days. And unless Congress rejects it, requiring 60 votes up front and 67 to override a presidential veto, 60 votes up front to overcome a filibuster, Obama can lift sanctions any time after that 30-day period. So we’ve turned the treaty provision on its head. Instead of requiring two-thirds of the senators present to approve the treaty, this bill explicitly, with Obama’s blessing … you need 67 votes to override a presidential veto, to undo what Obama’s done.
The Republican Senate has no more respect and faith for our Constitution than our Democrat Constitution. They’re in it together. They also stripped the provisions, had been discussed earlier, requiring Obama to certify every 90 days after sanctions were lifted, that Iran is not engaging in terrorist activities.
We are entering into an arrangement, on June 30, with a terrorist regime. The word “terrorism,” or “terrorist,” under international law, has meaning. … The Geneva Convention, that relates to terrorism, is explicit that terrorists and terrorist states are so thoroughly lawless, they’re not to be treated, even in a state of war, as you do an enemy. … Somehow, they are going to follow the rules of this deal, which is nebulous and ambiguous, while our imperial, lawless President and their Nazi leader cannot agree on what they supposedly agreed on in this framework.
All this bill does is give cover to the Congress, where they can pretend that they are doing something substantive. They can pretend that they’re doing something serious. They can pretend they actually have a role in overseeing sanctions.
How do you enter into an agreement with a regime that doesn’t adhere to existing agreements–international agreements? Our entire nation is getting into Barack Obama’s pathetic legacy, and the whole world is being damaged as the result of it.
Noting Josh Earnest’s proud proclamation that there was no up or down vote on the treaty anymore, Levin lashed out, “These damn fools in the United States Senate just gave up the treaty power, as they’ve given up the power of the purse, as they’ve given up the power over immigration, and you are supposed to think this is a great day and celebrate it. Not me, dammit!”
Keith Koffler at the White House Dossier blog added:
He’s right. Because a treaty requires a two-thirds vote by the Senate to be accepted as law. [Sen. Bob] Corker’s bill turns that on its head, allowing Congress to vote down the treaty with Iran but giving Obama veto power, which must be overridden by a two-thirds vote. … What Corker has done is legitimize Obama’s power grab. Congress could have instead voted this treaty down on its own and then passed legislation withholding funding for its implementation. Obama could also veto the measure withholding funds, which would require the same two-thirds override. But at least the point would have been made that he was acting unconstitutionally, and he would be on record as defying the Congress. As a practical matter, this would have made it far easier for a future president to discard the Iran deal.