LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Iran agreement turning government on its ear

Operating government isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s not supposed to be a simple procedure without its roadblocks, its obstructions and its difficulties. Obama says it’s not easy; congressmen complain that it’s not easy: they say it’s so difficult to do the things they do, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Government is not supposed to be running over the people like a freight train. They’re supposed to have to go through hoops; they’re supposed to have to listen to the people to do their jobs; they’re supposed to have to go through difficult votes; it’s supposed to take time. The rate at which we pass legislation today is amazing. It took our Framers years to pass legislation. We do way too much in way too short a time.

Senate Democrats have filibustered a vote in the U.S. Senate that would have allowed lawmakers to move forward on a Republican-backed resolution disapproving of the Iran nuclear agreement. Forty-two Democrats voted to keep the resolution from advancing to a floor debate, but 58 senators voted to move forward with the bill. However, the Iran deal opponents failed to reach the 60-vote threshold required to defeat the Democrats’ filibuster, thus leaving the legislation in limbo.

What in the world does that mean? Well here’s the bottom line as Reuters reports: As long as the bill remains stalled in the Senate, President Barack Obama will not have to exercise a veto to turn back any resolution rejecting the nuclear deal, which was negotiated between Iran and six world powers. He will also remain able to lift sanctions against Tehran as part of the agreement.

What does that mean? How do we understand that process? This is double, triple, and quadruple negative understanding! What in the world is going on in Washington, D.C.?

How do we block this Iran deal, well … can’t filibuster, we have to have a vote in the Senate, we can’t move forward … wait a minute! I thought we wanted to move forward on the Iran deal – wait a minute, we can’t move forward on a Republican-backed resolution disapproving the deal because 42 stopped them. Only in government does a 42 minority stop a 58 majority; why? Because we’ve crafted some kind of congressional rule that says you have to get a 60-vote threshold to disapprove of the Democrats’ approval, which then leaves the deal in limbo, sort of like a court taking it under advisement, and since it’s in limbo, then, the deal remains active and engaged because nobody disapproved it.

Government’s not supposed to be easy, but this is not what I was talking about. Controlling government is supposed to be easy. Understanding how it works is supposed to be easy. Its operation is not supposed to be easy. This Iran deal is the complete contradiction of everything that our Framers did.

It makes government convoluted, difficult to understand: you don’t know quite what you have to do to stop it, you don’t know what is needed to stop it, and if you try to stop it, you have to work really, really hard to stop government, which makes it really easy for the president to become a king.

This is how the government is supposed to work: The president shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur. You see, there’s not a disapproval of the president’s actions because that’s a king.

When the president can make law or treaties and the only way to stop him is to disapprove, that’s exactly how kingdoms work, which is the exact opposite of a constitutional republic, and the only time the president has power to make treaties is by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur, which means you know how to defeat the president’s treaty: You build two-thirds of the senators present who don’t want to concur.

You find more than a third of the Senate who do not want this, and that’s it; you don’t get your two-thirds approval. But that’s exactly the opposite of what we’re doing here, and we have completely altered the way government works, transforming the president into a king, and you can’t even understand the mechanisms. Do you wonder why people check out of government?

Government has made it so convoluted, you can’t even understand, and they’ve done it outside the authority of the Constitution!

Robert Duff

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