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Post  Admin on Sat 16 May 2015, 9:52 am

Bill Giving Congress Right to Weigh In on Potential Iran Nuclear Deal Heads to White House
House passes bill that would prevent President Obama from waiving sanctions on Iran for 30 days
Updated May 14, 2015 7:38 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The House on Thursday passed legislation giving Congress a chance to review any nuclear agreement reached with Iran next month.

A bill that took weeks of deliberations to clear the Senate last week easily cleared the House, passing 400-25 under an expedited procedure used for uncontroversial measures.
The measure now goes to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.
The bill would prevent Mr. Obama from waiving sanctions on Iran for 30 days while Congress reviews any final agreement to diminish Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Lawmakers would then be able to vote to disapprove the deal, or take no action.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) applauded the vote, saying the legislation was the only way Congress would be able to stop a the president from negotiating “a bad deal” with Iran.
Skeptics have noted that even if lawmakers voted to disapprove an Iran deal, Mr. Obama could veto that action—and that critics of any deal aren’t expected to have enough votes to override a veto.
Mr. Obama will still have “a blank check to sign a really bad deal with the largest state sponsor of terror in the world,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), who voted against the bill. “It is unconscionable for Congress to grant such sweeping power to Obama allowing him to lift sanctions.”
Passage of the bill occurred as Mr. Obama met with delegations from Persian Gulf states at Camp David, Md., for talks designed to narrow differences over the White House’s pursuit of a deal with Iran. The U.S. and five other international powers are trying to reach a comprehensive pact on Iran’s nuclear program by a deadline of June 30 after agreeing on the framework of a deal in March.
Reaching a final deal with Iran would kick off the next, more partisan, round of debate in Congress over the negotiations.
Republicans have accused the administration of being willing to make too many concessions to strike an agreement.
Secretary of State John Kerry “appears to be a guy who just wants a deal—whatever it takes,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said Wednesday. “The least little thing that Iran brings up, he’s so anxious to resolve it.”
Meanwhile, Democrats have largely been more supportive of the administration’s tactics, and optimistic that a final deal would significantly curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
U.S. negotiators “have made historic progress toward preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” Rep. David Price (D., N.C.) said on the House floor Thursday. Mr. Price said critics of the White House approach have offered no alternatives to the discussions with Iran other than military action. “We must continue to give diplomacy a chance,” Mr. Price said.

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Post  Admin on Tue 07 Apr 2015, 10:42 pm

Chuck Schumer bucks White House on Iran
The top Democrat throws his weight behind legislation to give Congress power to reject a deal.
By Burgess Everett
Updated 4/7/15 11:20 AM EDT
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of Capitol Hill’s most influential voices in the Iran nuclear debate, is strongly endorsing passage of a law opposed by President Barack Obama that would give Congress an avenue to reject the White House-brokered framework unveiled last week.
The comments Monday by the Democratic leader-in-waiting illustrate the enormity of the task ahead for Obama and his team: While there’s no guarantee that Congress would ultimately reject an agreement with Iran, there’s an increasingly bipartisan consensus that Congress should at least have the ability to do so.
Story Continued Below
“This is a very serious issue that deserves careful consideration, and I expect to have a classified briefing in the near future. I strongly believe Congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement and I support the Corker bill which would allow that to occur,” Schumer said in an emailed statement to POLITICO.
Schumer had quietly signed on to a bill allowing congressional review of the Iran deal two weeks ago, but made little fanfare of his co-sponsorship. In a brief statement on Friday, he said only that he’d review the agreement. Now that the outlines of an agreement are known, Schumer’s emphatic statement that Congress has an important role becomes more significant, signaling to fellow Democrats that it’s safe to jump on board the review bill.
His comments came as the White House press secretary was panning the legislation, which was written by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and would allow Congress to vote to suspend the lifting of sanctions. A committee vote on the measure is planned for next week.
Schumer is a potentially decisive figure in whether the Iran measure will eclipse veto-proof support in Congress, given his expected ascension to the Democratic leader’s job in 2017 and the diminished influence of indicted Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who recently relinquished his position as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel.
Within the Senate Democratic Caucus, a dozen senators have either co-sponsored Corker’s legislation or indicated they could support it. That would put the measure one vote shy of a veto-proof majority. On Monday, three more Democratic senators — Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — left open the possibility of voting for it, according to aides. Their support, however, could hinge on whether Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the new ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is able to negotiate concessions that alleviate concerns the bill could derail any agreement.
Capitol Hill aides in both parties on Monday said it is not clear what changes Democrats will seek. The bill would give Congress 60 days to review the Iran framework by freezing sanction relief and allowing lawmakers the ability to formally disapprove or approve of the legislation. One possibility is to clarify that the legislation governs only congressional sanctions rather than ones that originated from global agreements or the White House.

Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, right, accompanied by White House Press secretary Josh Earnest, speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 6, 2015. President Barack Obama is casting the Iran talks as part of a broader foreign policy doctrine that sees American power as a safeguard that gives him the ability to take calculated risks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)    

Moniz: No country has veto over Iran sanctions

With no co-sponsors publicly backing away from Corker’s bill in recent days, Democratic supporters said they have detected a shift in rhetoric from the White House. They pointed to Obama’s comment to The New York Times over the weekend in which he suggested finding a legislative compromise “that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives.”
“I read what the president said last night, looking for a way to work with Congress on that. They are now in a realistic position: That Congress is going to weigh in,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who co-wrote the bill while making technical consultations with the White House. He called Obama’s tone in that interview “just a recognition of the reality of the situation” on Capitol Hill.
But White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to entertain that possibility, telling reporters on Monday that the White House sees no way to reconcile Corker’s bill with the president’s mission of finishing Iran negotiations before Congress votes on anything.
“It could potentially interfere with the ongoing negotiations,” Earnest said, insisting that Congress wait until after the June 30 deadline for a final agreement before voting on the legislation.
Such a delay appears increasingly unlikely, however. Corker said he plans to hold a committee vote on April 14, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed Monday that the full Senate will consider the bill shortly after tha
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/chuck-schumer-bucks-white-house-on-iran-116713.html#ixzz3Wf3dGMS2

Robert Einhorn, fellow at The Brookings Institution, speaks during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee January 27, 2015 in Washington, DC.  The committee held the hearing on negotiations with Iran on their nuclear program. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)    

Top nuclear experts endorse Iran deal

Corker insists the point of his bill is to work in tandem with the negotiations. In a lengthy interview after the deal was announced, he repeatedly said he’s been told by nuclear negotiators that simply introducing his bill with bipartisan support strengthened the president’s hand.
“They [the Iranians] believe that Congress is going to weigh in,” Corker said of the White House. “And I do realize that that’s had a positive effect on the negotiations, which is one of our goals.”
Kaine said he carefully studied a bill spearheaded by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) that would tighten sanctions if Iran reneges on an interim agreement or walks away from ongoing talks. He concluded that the sanctions bill might violate the spirit of the agreement, but the review measure does the opposite.
“The argument that the Corker bill somehow interferes with the negotiations is a complete red herring,” Kaine said. “I did not sign on to this bill because of an anti-diplomacy mind-set.”
Indeed, in interviews after the agreement was announced, few congressional Democrats were eager to see the deal fall apart even as they press for legislation the White House opposes.
“The [Democrats] who do support it, support it on the principle of congressional review,” said one Democratic source closely following the talks.
If the GOP wants Congress to formally reject the lifting of sanctions on Iran — and likely kill the nuclear agreement — it faces an arduous task with no guarantee of success. First, Corker must rally and hold together at least 13 Democrats to support his approval bill, which then would likely face easy passage in the House. The president could then take his time vetoing the legislation before sending it back to the Hill for a high-stakes override vote.

Saudi Arabia cautiously endorses Iran deal
Then Republicans could file a motion of disapproval, a process established by the Corker bill that would set a high bar for rejecting the lifting of sanctions. That motion would also have to withstand a presidential veto, which means 13 Senate Democrats and dozens in the House would have to vote against the White House’s deal. Even if a permanent deal was struck well before the June 30 deadline and the disapproval motion was filed immediately upon the bill’s passage, the entire process could easily take until late May.
And as Corker’s bill moves through Congress, the White House would be free to continue ironing out the final technical document governing the deal.
Still, the administration is taking no chances. In addition to the one-on-one phone diplomacy being conducted by the president, Vice President Joe Biden and Cabinet officials during the congressional recess, the administration will hold an open briefing for House and Senate members on Wednesday at the State Department, a senior administration confirmed.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Wednesday is also the deadline for senators to file amendments to Corker’s bill in committee, where Democrats may stand their best chance of incorporating changes intended to soften the legislation.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/chuck-schumer-bucks-white-house-on-iran-116713.html#ixzz3Wf3q9w91

Is The Press Starting To Turn On Obama?
I’m not holding my breath.
L. Todd Wood — April 6, 2015
Is our Dear Leader losing his luster with the mainstream media? It sure seems that way.

Surprisingly, our leftist press is starting to get annoyed with President Obama and the White House. I don’t think that they are worried about telling the truth to the American people. No, I think it has more to do with their elitist expectations not being met by “the most transparent administration in history.”
They are starting to realize they have been played by Obama all along, and they don’t like it. However, it is too late. The damage has already been done to the press as an institution–and to the country itself.
The Daily Caller writes:
The White House Correspondents’ Association is reportedly crafting a list of demands to be sent to the White House, after an incident last week in which a pool of reporters covering the president’s visit to Salt Lake City were turned away from a meeting between Obama and Mormon leaders.
The list of demands is not yet complete, but will contain a series of written promises the press corps wants the White House to commit to. “We’ve been working on that document for almost a year now and will have more to say about it when we release it later this spring,” Association President Christi Parsons told the Washington Examiner’s Eddy Scarry.
Although the Salt Lake City incident appears to be the immediate cause, Obama has long had a troubled relationship with the White House press corps. Reporters have openly complained about the White House’s lack of transparency, with some even claiming to have been on the receiving end of “profanity-laced tirades” from White House officials.
A White House Correspondents’ Association seminar last year basically turned into a White House bash-fest, with some going as far as to call it “more dangerous” to press freedom than any other administration.
Maybe some shred of respectability could be returned to the press if they focused on uncovering all of the illegal behavior this administration has indulged in over the last six years. Two years is a long time, and a lot of the wrongs could be made right if the press would do its job.

I’m not holding my breath.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/press-starting-turn-obama/#K9VRPRdeUEMU700K.99   

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