At Rep. Reed’s Town Hall Meeting at Atlanta (Steuben County) on March 15 the following question was asked:
What did you learn by going to Netanyahu’s message to congress, and do you agree with the forty-seven Senators who undermined our President’s role in negotiating with Iran?
His response was not surprising. He has learned the GOP talking points and buzz words well.
“These negotiations are going down a path that is problematic. It is potentially leading us to a bad deal. And when are dealing with a nuclearized Iran having a bad deal with Iran on this situation is not a path I’m going to be supportive of.”
CNN, in an articled dated March 16, explained where the negotiation stood as of that date. Of course the situation is complexed since they include other countries involved with the talks siding with the US. CNN did say, “Aborted negotiations that leave Iran rededicated to its nuclear program raise the specter of Tehran with a bomb.” In other words, if negotiations fail, then Iran would be free to increase its nuclear program, quite different than what Rep. Reed told the two dozen or so crowd in Atlanta. You may want to read the article for yourself.
The second part of the question was “Do you agree with the forty-seven Senators who undermined our President’s role in negotiating with Iran? His reply was:
“The Senators will have to weigh in on this process whenever there is an agreement becomes a treaty. The Senate has the prerogative to accept or reject the treaty. So the Senators and how they employ themselves on the letter I’ll let the Senators speak for themselves. But I think a clear message was needed to be delivered to the world and whoa, time out-back, up we are not going down the path of bad deal and if an agreement comes to the Senate a bad deal will get rejected by the Senate and that is what the Senators was putting a marker down on. Saying, Mr. President, we are part of this process, we are going to hold you in-check, and anyone who is negotiating with you needs to understand that there needs to be a process, and if it is a bad deal, just because you doesn’t mean it is going to get accepted by the Senate. To me that is a reasonable approach to take and that is clear message that needed to be sent as we get into these negotiation to completion because it is my understanding that they are trying to wrap these negotiations up very quickly and they are giving away some big chips because they are so eager to get to an agreement. Sometimes if you are not willing to walk away from an agreement you give away things that could be dangerous.”
Let’s look closely at what our representative said:
“The Senators will have to weigh in on this process whenever there is an agreement becomes a treaty. The Senate has the prerogative to accept or reject the treaty.
The United States has proposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, and, true, Congress would have to approve them. Reed did not mention the proposed United Nation sanctions, or the proposed European Sanctions, or proposed sanctions from other counties. I am assuming that our Congress realizes that they only get to decided on our sanctions. If Congress does not approve of our sanctions, they will only weaken the complete package of sanctions against Iran.
But I think a clear message was needed to be delivered to the world and whooo, time out-back- up we are not going down the path of bad deal and if an agreement comes to the Senate a bad deal will get rejected by the Senate and that is what the Senators was putting a marker down on.
As mentioned earlier, if there is no treaty, Iran will be able to continue their program as they wish. From the CNN article,
Iran could start up centrifuges halted during the nuclear negotiations, bring more advanced machinery online and enrich uranium to the potent 20% level that would get it closer to a weapon.
And if it bars international inspectors, the world would have no idea how far Iran is from making a bomb.
Reed goes on to say:
Mr. President, we are part of this process, we are going to hold you in-check, and anyone who is negotiating with you needs to understand that there needs to be a process, and if it is a bad deal, just because you doesn’t mean it is going to get accepted by the Senate.
No. The Senate is not part of the Negotiation Process, at least not at this point. William Hungerford, in his recent New NY 23rd article, “Republicans, Barack Obama, and Woodrow Wilson”, reminded us that the 1919 Republicans, who didn’t ratify President Wilson’s League of Nature and the Versailles Treaty, understood the process. They waited until after the Negotiations were finalized before they voted them down. (That action planted the seeds for World War 2).
If you re-read Reed’s rhetoric, you realize that he fails to give facts about the negotiations. The details are missing. He is assuming the worst. He is purposely scaring the public. He wants us to depend on him for protection.
Reed agrees with the actions of the Senators to undermine the negotiations:
To me that is a reasonable approach to take and that is clear message that needed to be sent.
Basic negotiating is not simple. These negotiations are complicated, complex and convoluted. The Art of Negotiation includes give and take, compromise, and a little face saving. Both sides need to see the benefits of accepting the final results. It is not, as our 47 Senators and our congressman seems to think, a one way take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum.
Compare the Republican re-action to the Iran Negotiations and the Trans-Pacific-Partnership Negotiations.
President Obama has requested “Fast-Track Authority” (Officially known as Trade Promotion Authority–or TPA) for the TPP. Fast Track is a special feature unique to Trade Treaties. Once the trade negotiations end, that is consensuses is reached between all of the countries involved, each country takes the agreement back to their ruling body for approval. If one country wants to change any part of the agreement, no matter the size of the change, they all need to go back to the negotiation tables and agree on the language again. That is not practical.
If the TPP is given Fast Track status, the process of introducing the bill to voting on it could take 90 days or less. That includes going through committees in the House (since it deals with revenues) and then the Senate, debates and votes. That is why it is called Fast. Other special considerations associated with a Fast Track Trade Bill is that the Senate can not filibuster that bill, and there can be no changes (amendments) to it–it is either a Yes or NO vote. Also, it needs a simple majority to pass.
When a Trade Bill is passed, the agreed language in the Bill supersedes United States law. An example was given at the Rally held outside of Rep. Reed’s Corning Office on Wednesday, March 11. The Philip Morris Tobacco Company was going to sell cigarettes in Uruguay, which has strong rules on health warnings on the packs of tobacco products. Morris sued Uruguay accusing the packing requirement “devalues its trademark”, and through binding arbitration the International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes sided with the tobacco company, which sided with Morris since that phrase was in the Trade Treaty. They have used the same technique against other countries.
Other concerns about TPP, which has lawyers from International Corporations negotiating on the U.S. side, deals with having the terms supersede U.S. wage, safety, environmental, and food safety laws, state-owned businesses market for small businesses, access to pharmaceutical products and on-line commerce.
One would think that our congress, and our congressman, would be quite upset that our laws, which went through the regular legal process, would be stepped on by International Corporations. But that is not the case. Rep. Reed, admitted that the trade agreement would change U.S. Laws, touted TPP as an opportunity to “make here and sell there.” A lovely thought if our other trade agreements had worked that way, which they haven’t.
The leaders of our congress attacked one set of negotiations during negotiations, undercutting our negotiators and the President. They will then go through a ceremonious debate over a real secret set of negotiation. One is to impress the base of the Republican Party. The other is to impress the deep pocket donors to their campaigns.