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Is "Congressional" approval really needed?

Reader comment on item: Obama's Iran Deal Has the Makings of a Catastrophe

Submitted by Michael Francis Kiely (United States), Jul 22, 2015 at 14:21

The focus in the Iran nuclear agreement has now shifted to whether Congress will approve the agreement. But must Congress, that is both Houses of Congress, approve this treaty with Iran? The answer is clearly "No". Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution clearly states that the President "shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur . . ." What could be more clear?

Thus, the President has to submit this agreement, which by any analysis is a treaty, to the Senate for its approval. The Constitution does not contain any role for the House of Representatives in this process, and there is no silly 60-day deadline for action by the Senate. But someone will say that Congress passed a law specifically to provide the process by which Congress would approve or disapprove this agreement. But that argument is legally bogus. The process has been in place since 1787, and Congress can not change the Constitution merely by passing a law. What if Congress passed a law that said the President could be impeached by a simple majority of the U.S. Senate with no role for the House? Would such a law override the impeachment provisions in Article I, Section 3 of the same Constitution? Of course not. Then why should the Advice and Consent provisions of Article II be ignored?

Unless the President and the Senate follow the Constitution in considering this treaty with Iran, then it will be a nullity, and future Presidents will be free to ignore it.


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