Obama’s Iran deal is getting ready to come to a vote in Congress. While many representatives have openly voiced criticism – actually, a majority of them – the bill is expected to pass.
Congress usually votes to approve a bill. If both houses approve, the bill is taken to the White House where the president either vetoes or signs it. However, in this case, Congress is voting to DISAPPROVE the Iran deal. If this goes through, it will still make its way to the White House, where the President would, supposedly, veto Congress’s disapproval, and it would go back to Congress to see if there would be enough votes to override the veto. This means that as long as 34 senators approve the deal (and they do, as of today), the President’s deal will stick.
Sen. Mikulski of Maryland was the decisive 34th backer. She has served for three decades in the Senate already and will be retiring next year, which is probably relevant because it means she didn’t need to fear backlash from constituents that couldn’t vote for her next term anyway.
What do you think of this loophole? Clearly, an argument can be made that this is bad because it is effectively minority rule – especially considering how hard it was to get these 34 together.
Relevant NPR interview question: a reporter asked Obama, “Are you entirely comfortable going forward with a historic deal knowing that most of the people's representatives are against it?” and he responded saying, “Well, what I know is, is that, unfortunately, a large portion of the Republican Party, if not a near unanimous portion of Republican representatives, are going to be opposed to anything that I do, and I have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics…and I am confident that, as we see implementation, we will see, in fact, more and more folks pull out of the immediate politics of it and judge it on the basis of whether it was the right thing to do for the country.” (Read the entire interview transcript at http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/10/431244020/full-video-and-transcript-nprs-interview-with-president-obama)
Is it a politician’s job to represent our views or act in what he/she thinks is in our best interest? How much of how we elect our representatives is on the basis of how we trust them, their rationality and decision-making ability, and how much of it is dependent on how well we like the specific policies they advocate for? Does it count as democracy if they think they are representing the interests of their constituents even if those interests have never officially been voiced? Are situations like the passing of the Iran deal sometimes necessary so things can actually get done, or are they never justified?