(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that the deal he and the leaders of five other major powers are trying to cut with the Iranian regime headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is a “political agreement” and “not a formal treaty.”
As such, he said, Congress should not ordinarily have authority to sign off on this kind of deal.
Obama made the statement when discussing legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and approved unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would give Congress 60 days to review an Iran nuclear deal made by the administration. During that 60 days, according to a summary by the Congressional Research Service, Congress could vote for a joint resolution in favor of the agreement,vote for a joint resolution not in favor of the agreement, or vote for no resolution at all.
The Constitution says the president can only make a treaty if two-thirds of the Senate votes to ratify it. Corker’s amendment could allow an Iran nuclear deal to go into effect without any vote of the Senate.
“There were a number of people who were supporting Corker’s legislation suggesting that, as a routine matter, a President needs to get sign-off from Congress to negotiate political agreements. That is not the case,” said Obama in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy. “That has never been the case. This is not a formal treaty that is being envisioned. And the President of the United States, whether Democrat or Republican, traditionally has been able to enter into political agreements that are binding with other countries without congressional approval.
“And I still have some concerns about the suggestion that that tradition was in some ways changing,” said Obama. “But there was language in the legislation that spoke to this being directly related to congressional sanctions. And that, I think, at least allows me to interpret the legislation in such a way that it not sending a signal to future Presidents that each and every time they’re negotiating a political agreement that they have to get a congressional authorization.”