Tags: Iran | john kerry | condescending | congress | iran | deal | tense

House Panel Slams Kerry on 'Condescending' Testimony on Iran Deal

By    |   Tuesday, 28 July 2015 09:43 PM

House Panel Slams Kerry on 'Condescending' Testimony on Iran Deal
House Republicans bashed Secretary of State John Kerry on the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, with Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry describing the diplomat's testimony as "condescending" to Newsmax after a tense House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

"It was, unfortunately, the normal kind of condescending: 'We're from the State Department. We spent years working on this deal. You just need to get smart and figure out that we have all the answers and vote for this thing," the two-term congressman said in an interview. "They've already determined their course of action regardless of what Congress does, and that is very telling."

California Rep. Darrell Issa told Newsmax that Kerry and the Obama administration were essentially playing a numbers game with Congress.

"They're desperate to keep the House and the Senate, one or the other, below two-thirds negative," he said in an interview. "You saw on both the Republican and Democratic side sufficient skepticism that they're not likely to get to a majority, but they're not fighting for that.

"They're fighting the reverse battle: They're fighting not to have a two-thirds majority reject this deal."

Perry's fellow Republican, Rep. Tom Marino, called Kerry's answers to legislators' questions "a constant reiteration, one after another."

"They're not in the position where they can come up with a good answer," he said in an interview.

Not a week after members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee charged that Kerry had been "fleeced" and "bamboozled" by Tehran did the secretary face even more hostile questioning from the House panel in a four-hour session Tuesday.

Kerry warned skeptical lawmakers not to spurn the contentious nuclear deal with Iran, insisting that it includes strict inspections and other safeguards to deter cheating by Tehran.

"If Congress does not support the deal, we would see this deal die — with no other options," the secretary said as part of the Obama administration's continued all-out campaign to sell the accord.

Congress has begun a 60-day review of the deal that curbs Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from sanctions that have been stifling its economy. All members must weigh the deal, but it's especially a tough decision for those who have a large number of Jewish constituencies because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it a "historic mistake."

Committee Chairman Ed Royce underscored the disdain many Republicans held for the agreement.

"Iran has cheated on every agreement they've signed," the California congressman said in his opening remarks. He asked if Tehran had "earned the right to be trusted" given its history.

"If this agreement goes through, Iran gets a cash bonanza, a boost to its international standing, and a lighted path toward nuclear weapons," Royce added. "With sweeping sanctions relief, we have lessened our ability to challenge Iran’s conduct across the board.

"As Iran grows stronger, we will be weaker to respond."

Kerry's testimony was marked by several tense exchanges, with both Pennsylvania congressmen and even some Democrats.

At one point, Marino grew irritated by assertions from both Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that "the power of our sanctions is not going to have the effect that you want … that we want," as Lew said.

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"I disagree with you," Marino said. "The economists disagree with you. The individuals that I’ve read article after article on disagree with you."

"But congressman," Kerry retorted, "we are absolutely committed that Iran will never get the material for one bomb. Not one bomb.

"You didn’t answer my original question Mr. Secretary," Marino said.

The legislator later told Newsmax that Kerry's responses were just to "drag out the time" and "when he started doing that, I just shut him down."

Perhaps the bitterest exchange came when Perry, who served in the Army during the Iraq War, pressed Kerry on his loyalties with the agreement.

"Do you care more about this deal or the U.N.'s approval — or American sovereignty and the approval of the American people through their duly-elected representatives?" Perry asked.

"Congressman, I don’t need any lessons from you on who I represent," Kerry responded.

"I've represented and fought for this country since I was out of college. So, don't give me any lessons about that, OK?"

Perry later told Newsmax that his goal was to "clarify his words, because words mean things.

"Essentially, what he was saying was that we don't need Congress and it doesn't matter what Congress does. When you say it doesn't matter what Congress does, to me, what you're implying is it doesn't matter what the American people think — because Congress is only there to represent the American people.

"Look, I don't want to disparage the man unduly, but if that's what he thinks, it's important that we know it," Perry said.

Reflecting on the session, Issa told Newsmax: "Farther down the dais you go, the more frustrated you are with the lack of real answers.

"They have a pitch and just like a road show for a public offering, they're not going to deviate," he said of the Obama administration. "Their pitch is this deal or no deal — and no deal is bad."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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House Republicans bashed Secretary of State John Kerry on the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, with Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry describing the diplomat's testimony as condescending to Newsmax after a tense House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. It was, unfortunately, the...
john kerry, condescending, congress, iran, deal, tense
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 09:43 PM
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