Rubio's gambit to trap Obama on Iran deal bill

This is a smart  move by the Florida senator, who is looking to put some teeth in the milquetoast bill that would allow for some congressional oversight over a final Iran nuclear deal.

Rubio's amendment would force the president to certify that all of the provisions outlined in the White House "Fact Sheet" that was released on the day of the framework agreement are actually in the final deal.  In essence, the president will have to admit that he lied about what was in the deal by vetolng the legislation, or sign it and try to get Iran to agree on the several parts of the framework accord that they accuse the White House of lying about.

Bloomberg:

Rubio just wants the Iran deal to conform to the president's own description of a nuclear framework agreement. As Rubio said Wednesday, "It requires this final deal be the deal the president says it is."

On the surface, this seems like small ball. On April 2, the White House released a fact sheet that spelled out Iran's obligations to modify some of its nuclear facilities and limit its enrichment. The fact sheet said sanctions would be phased out over time as Iran complied with the terms of the framework.

Rubio's amendment simply quotes that fact sheet verbatim and says the president may not waive or lift any Congressional sanctions until he certifies Iran has met the White House conditions.

"For the life of me, I don't understand why that would be controversial," Rubio said Wednesday. "Yet somehow, I was told this would box the White House in."

But Rubio knows very well why the amendment is controversial. Almost immediately after the White House announced the terms of what it thought was a framework agreement, the Iranians balked. The foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted that the White House fact sheet was spin. The head of Iran's revolutionary guard corps said international inspectors would never gain access to military sites. And Iran's supreme leader says all sanctions must be lifted up front when Iran signs an agreement.

In the face of Iran's new red lines, Obama wobbled. On April 17, Obama said he was instructing his negotiators to "find formulas that get to our main concerns while allowing the other side to make a presentation to their body politic that is more acceptable.”

In the Senate it's not clear whether Rubio will get a vote on his fact-sheet amendment. On Wednesday Rubio said leaders of his party promised that he would be able to get a fair hearing for his amendments during the floor debate, but that this week he said he was being told there may not be enough time to vote on all the amendments Republicans have offered.

As almost everyone has predicted, Obama is doing a total cave-in to Iranian demands that their interpretation of the deal be accepted.  The White House lied when they said in the Fact Sheet that sanctions on Iran would be lifted gradually over a period of years.  Now it looks like Iran will get their wish, and the sanctions will be lifted immediately, giving them absolutely no incentive whatsoever to live up to the agreement.

No inspection of military sites, no snap inspections, and Iran will maintain the ability to install second-generation centrifuges.  All of those points were subject to a different interpretation by the White House, who insist to this day that the agreement will have a tough inspection regimen and that Iran will be prevented from improving their enrichment technology.

Rubio's gambit will probably fail.  Republicans are with Democrats in wanting this bone from the White House on congressional oversight of the deal.  But wouldn't it be better to expose a bad deal by forcing the White House to admit they lied about the agreement, rather than accepting a flawed accord?  If the president is going to make a bad deal anyway, why not stand up for congressional perogatives? 

As it stands now, the bill has no teeth, no provisions that would force President Obama to sign a deal with minimal protections against an Iranian bomb.  But as long as Obama and the Democrats take the attitude that a bad deal is better than no deal, opponents of the agreement can do nothing to stop it.

This is a smart  move by the Florida senator, who is looking to put some teeth in the milquetoast bill that would allow for some congressional oversight over a final Iran nuclear deal.

Rubio's amendment would force the president to certify that all of the provisions outlined in the White House "Fact Sheet" that was released on the day of the framework agreement are actually in the final deal.  In essence, the president will have to admit that he lied about what was in the deal by vetolng the legislation, or sign it and try to get Iran to agree on the several parts of the framework accord that they accuse the White House of lying about.

Bloomberg:

Rubio just wants the Iran deal to conform to the president's own description of a nuclear framework agreement. As Rubio said Wednesday, "It requires this final deal be the deal the president says it is."

On the surface, this seems like small ball. On April 2, the White House released a fact sheet that spelled out Iran's obligations to modify some of its nuclear facilities and limit its enrichment. The fact sheet said sanctions would be phased out over time as Iran complied with the terms of the framework.

Rubio's amendment simply quotes that fact sheet verbatim and says the president may not waive or lift any Congressional sanctions until he certifies Iran has met the White House conditions.

"For the life of me, I don't understand why that would be controversial," Rubio said Wednesday. "Yet somehow, I was told this would box the White House in."

But Rubio knows very well why the amendment is controversial. Almost immediately after the White House announced the terms of what it thought was a framework agreement, the Iranians balked. The foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted that the White House fact sheet was spin. The head of Iran's revolutionary guard corps said international inspectors would never gain access to military sites. And Iran's supreme leader says all sanctions must be lifted up front when Iran signs an agreement.

In the face of Iran's new red lines, Obama wobbled. On April 17, Obama said he was instructing his negotiators to "find formulas that get to our main concerns while allowing the other side to make a presentation to their body politic that is more acceptable.”

In the Senate it's not clear whether Rubio will get a vote on his fact-sheet amendment. On Wednesday Rubio said leaders of his party promised that he would be able to get a fair hearing for his amendments during the floor debate, but that this week he said he was being told there may not be enough time to vote on all the amendments Republicans have offered.

As almost everyone has predicted, Obama is doing a total cave-in to Iranian demands that their interpretation of the deal be accepted.  The White House lied when they said in the Fact Sheet that sanctions on Iran would be lifted gradually over a period of years.  Now it looks like Iran will get their wish, and the sanctions will be lifted immediately, giving them absolutely no incentive whatsoever to live up to the agreement.

No inspection of military sites, no snap inspections, and Iran will maintain the ability to install second-generation centrifuges.  All of those points were subject to a different interpretation by the White House, who insist to this day that the agreement will have a tough inspection regimen and that Iran will be prevented from improving their enrichment technology.

Rubio's gambit will probably fail.  Republicans are with Democrats in wanting this bone from the White House on congressional oversight of the deal.  But wouldn't it be better to expose a bad deal by forcing the White House to admit they lied about the agreement, rather than accepting a flawed accord?  If the president is going to make a bad deal anyway, why not stand up for congressional perogatives? 

As it stands now, the bill has no teeth, no provisions that would force President Obama to sign a deal with minimal protections against an Iranian bomb.  But as long as Obama and the Democrats take the attitude that a bad deal is better than no deal, opponents of the agreement can do nothing to stop it.