PA-Sen: Toomey Signs Senate Letter to Iranian Leaders
According to Josh Rogin of Bloomberg View, 47 GOP Senators sent an open letter to the leaders of Iran about a proposed nuclear deal. Among the signatories was Pennsylvania’s junior Senator, Pat Toomey.
The Obama Administration and the Iranian regime have been negotiating for over a year on an agreement that would freeze Iran’s nuclear weapon program. With an end of the month deadline, reports indicate a deal may be close.
Details have been sparse but apparently the two sides are closing in on a ten-year deal.
Given Republican control of the Senate and the need for two-thirds approval of any treaty, though, it is more likely the two countries would have to settle for an executive agreement.
Now 47 of the 54 Republican Senators are going around the President to appeal to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“The letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process,” Rogin writes.
The Senators, who unlike the President, have to stand for re-election in the future, aren’t happy with the proposed deal. Not only that, they seem to indicate in the message that they would not honor it.
“The President may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms,” they write. “As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then – perhaps decades.”
“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei,” they conclude. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
PoliticsPA reached out to Senator Toomey’s office for comment.
“I think the letter makes the points,” Communications Director E.R. Anderson responded.
Update: Former Congressman Joe Sestak, who ran against Sen. Toomey in 2010 and is seeking a rematch next year, responded to the Senator’s action in a lengthy email:
During my 31 years in the Navy, I went to approximately 80 countries. I have served in the White House as President Clinton’s Director for Defense Policy and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Executive Branch. I also have great respect for the institution of Congress, where I served for four years. But the regard for the institution of the U.S. Presidency and Commander-in-Chief that I saw around the world was unrivaled—as long as we respect it also.
Senators have the absolute right to argue and disagree with the President’s approach to any issue. But for Sen. Toomey to sign a letter to a foreign leader urging that leader to ignore the institution of the American Presidency is inexcusable, embarrassing, and shows a lack of experience and understanding about America’s standing in the world, led first and foremost by the U.S. President.
When Sen. Toomey was a Congressman, he fundamentally misunderstood the proper use of our military in the world when he voted to send us into the Iraq War. Today, Sen. Toomey is again wrong in voicing directly to an adversarial leader his opposition to an ongoing process of American diplomacy, by Toomey’s signing of a letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who has called for “Death to America.”
That Sen. Corker, the Republican Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, did not sign the letter underscores the recklessness of Sen. Toomey’s political actions – that he would tell a leader who wishes us ill to ignore our President’s endeavor. Signing the letter only serves to disrupt a possible effort to bring about a peaceful resolution to the nuclear weapons issue with Iran.
And if the nuclear talks fail, Toomey offers no other option except to go directly to war. Then, once again, we will have a representative who will have pushed our nation into war and – with no skin of his own in the game – will once again walk away from the men and women he sent into battle by voting against 12 Department of Veterans Affairs’ appropriations bills after his vote for the war in Iraq.