WASHINGTON – Rep. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) introduced a bill last week seeking to withhold any funds to the State Department or the executive branch for purposes of renegotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until it is first submitted to the Senate as a treaty, triggering the advice, consent and oversight that come with such a move.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Barr said the new legislation was not a symbolic move but rather a substantive way to increase the ability of Congress to review the agreement.
“It’s not symbolism,” he said. “It’s intended to be a very substantive legislative proposal, and I’m going to be asking a question related to it to Secretary [Antony] Blinken and the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week.” Barr is a member of the committee.
“The intent is not just to earn Republican support, but also hopefully bipartisan support,” he added. “I anticipate a number of Republicans cosponsoring this, and I will be sharing it with my Democratic colleagues to see if we can get their support as well.”
Barr said he was aware there may be greater reluctance on the part of Democrats because President Joe Biden is a Democrat, and they may view this as constraining the president’s flexibility.
“But I think it’s very important to involve the Congress on a bipartisan basis,” he told the Post. “It’s not just the president committing the United States to this, but that if we are to rejoin the deal, it should be bipartisan. I would argue that there should be bipartisan opposition to President Biden unilaterally rejoining a deal that is not a treaty.
“I opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that was negotiated during the Obama administration, and I was alarmed that it’s something that could undermine US national security, and certainly jeopardize the security of the State of Israel, done as a political commitment, circumventing the Congress the way it was done.”
“I believe [this is] something that has such profound ramifications on US national security, and that the security of our No. 1 ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel, rises to the level of importance that would necessitate the advice and consent [of what] is required for a treaty,” Barr said. “And I would also argue that this should not be a political issue or a Left-versus-Right issue. We saw bipartisan concern related to the JCPOA during the Obama administration.”
“Under the US Constitution, in order to legally bind the United States as a party to a treaty, the US Senate must provide advice and consent and ratify the treaty with a super-majority,” he said. “That’s not what happened during the Obama administration’s negotiations related to the JCPOA.
“Given some of the signals that the Biden administration has made to reenter the JCPOA, or to negotiate another Iran nuclear deal, this legislation would simply require the administration to submit any renegotiated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to the Senate as a treaty,” Barr said.