Senate Republicans went over the president’s head and sent a letter to officials in Iran regarding nuclear-program negotiations. Washington Bureau Chief for the Detroit News, David Shepardson, Director of The Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University Kenneth Gold and Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council Ilan Berman join host Stephen Henderson for a discussion about the letter and the escalating tensions between Congress and the White House.
Shepardson says the letter comes from a growing feeling of anger on the part of Republicans. The Senators have a right to be involved he says, but this is not how it is typically done.
“Traditionally foreign policy has been fairly bipartisan, the other side doesn’t necessarily like what the White House is doing but agrees for the sake of national unity,” says Shepardson.
According to Gold, the letter has impact on many different levels. He says the letter could be meant to undermine the negotiations, or it could be more about undermining the President. He also says the letter does have a constitutional aspect, as Congress does have limited power when it comes to internal agreements, but they haven’t flexed that power much recently.
“There has been an evolution in Congress’ foreign and national security role, especially since the end of World War Two, In which Congress has allowed that role to atrophy,” says Gold.
The lack of transparency when it comes to the President’s policy towards Iran is a problem, says Berman. He says the president has a fight on his hands with the Iran deal, and if Congress is not involved it will not stick.
“The Iranians understand very well that an executive agreement that doesn’t have buy-in from Congress will only last for about a year and a quarter and any future administration is going to roll it back,” says Berman.