The U.S. Congress has begun a sixty day review of a deal struck by the Obama administration, to limit Iran’s nuclear capability in return for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions. Initial statements reveal little outright support for the deal, among members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.
The review process is one which congressman Ron Kind said will include many questions. “I’m undecided right now,” the La Crosse Democrat said. “There are a lot of moving pieces to it, and we want to make sure we do this right.”
One of those questions, according to Kind, is what happens if Congress rejects the deal. “What does the day after a disapproval vote in Congress look like? Do the sanctions just completely collapse? Does Iran then just ramp the refining of plutonium, uranium and fissile material?”
Kind, a La Crosse Democrat representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District, said the key part of the deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – is the inspections piece. “It’s distrust and verify, because Iran certainly hasn’t earned anyone’s trust, given their past behavior,” Kind said.
While Kind remains undecided, other members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation are signaling their disapproval of the deal.
“From the beginning, I have said that I could not support any deal that I did not believe made Americans safer,” said Representative Reid Ribble, the Republican representing the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Wisconsin. “Unfortunately, this is not the deal that has emerged based on details we have seen so far.”
“President Obama has placed a target on the backs of all Americans,” said 5th District Republican Jim Sensenbrenner. “Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, and giving them billions of dollars in sanctions relief will help them fund their proxy wars on America and our allies.”
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obama Administration signed a bad deal with Iran given President Obama’s ignorance when it comes to foreign policy,” said 6th District Republican Representative Glenn Grothman. “Lifting sanctions on Iran, a country on the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, is dangerous and proves that President Obama and his administration negotiated from a position of weakness.”
“I’m proud that America led six countries toward an historic international agreement with Iran,” said Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “I will now take the time to carefully review this diplomatic agreement and make a judgment on it based on whether it is built on verification, achieves the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and serves America’s national security interests.”
“I have often stated that I believe this negotiation was lost from the start when President Obama capitulated and agreed that Iran would not have to dismantle its nuclear program,” said Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. “Initial reports of the deal do not change my opinion. That said, I will carefully review the details before rendering my final judgment.”
Republican leaders in both houses of Congress have been highly critical of the agreement and have vowed to reject it. President Obama has said he will veto any resolution of disapproval. That means Republicans will only be able to defeat the deal if they can muster the two-thirds of both houses of Congress needed to override a presidential veto of any resolution of disapproval.