Tags: MidPoint | Reid Ribble | Iran | nuclear deal | Obama

Rep. Reid Ribble: Congress Will Not Be Shut Out of Iran Role by Obama

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 03:32 PM

While President Barack Obama shuns Congress as a "hurdle to be avoided" in nuclear talks with Iran, Congress is refusing to be ignored and demanding more scrutiny of a questionable deal, says a House Foreign Affairs committee member, Republican Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin.

Hence, the open letter to Iran's leaders from 47 Republican senators warning that any nuclear pact signed now won't outlive this administration, Ribble told "MidPoint" host John Bachman on Newsmax TV Monday.

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"It's been clear that the president has viewed the Congress as a hurdle to be avoided here, and he's kept us pretty much in the dark on what the negotiations were," said Ribble, explaining why freshman Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, wrote the letter to Iran co-signed by 46 GOP Senate colleagues.

"They just wanted to alert the ayatollahs as to exactly what constitutional law is in the United States, so as they go through the process they know what to expect," said Ribble.

The White House on Monday complained that the letter writers are trying to undermine the president in delicate, high-stakes talks for mere political gain.

"There are going to be the naysayers that will say, listen, the Congress needs to stay out of this and let the negotiation happen," said Ribble. "But at this point, we don't even know what type of agreement that we're going to end up with. Is it going to be a treaty that requires a ratification by the Senate? Is the president going to do something through this process to create just an executive agreement?

"It's important for the Iranians to know that President Obama's going to be gone in 22 months," he said,  "and whether or not the Congress will agree … is essential to [Iran's] policymaking.

"I would have signed this letter had it been circulated to the House," said Ribble, "but in this case I don't think it was the wrong step for the U.S. Senate to take."

The Republican-led House made its concerns known by having Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to Congress last week over White House objections. Netanyahu warned that the non-proliferation deal taking shape now would be a "countdown to a nuclear nightmare" threatening global security.

Ribble said that recent, previously unheard administration promises to "walk away" from a bad Iran deal are proof that outside pressure from critics of the negotiations is making a difference.

"If he does get the agreement right, he's got no problems with the Congress," Ribble said of Obama. "If he doesn't, then he is going to have a problem.

"And the fact that Secretary [of State John] Kerry is in the Middle East today trying to assure  some of our partners … that this is not going to be a bad deal tells you [there are] broad-based concerns that the president of the United States might negotiate a deal that's not in the interest even of the region, much less to our own national security interests."

Ribble praised Obama for slapping sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials on Monday classifying the oil-dependent socialist state as a national security threat for its repressive practices at home.

"The president made the right move today," he said.

Ribble also discussed why he's siding with voters, and against some fellow Republicans, in a Supreme Court case over the seemingly arcane and technical issue of who gets to draw Arizona's legislative districts.

The high court heard arguments on Monday from lawyers for Arizona Republicans who are suing to shut down a voter-approved independent commission that decides the state's legislative, and electoral, boundaries.

Arizona Republicans want that power over political map-making returned to state legislators. In Democrat- and Republican-dominated statehouses alike, standard practice is to draw the lines to favor the party in power — a practice known as gerrymandering.

"The process itself has been rigged" against voters, said Ribble, "and that's why I oppose gerrymandering so strongly."

"I don't think that our founders ever intended a circumstance where the legislatures were choosing their voters based on a political affiliation, rather than voters choosing a representative to be their mouthpiece," said Ribble.

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Congress is refusing to be ignored and demanding more scrutiny of a questionable Iran deal, says a House Foreign Affairs committee member, Republican Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin.
Reid Ribble, Iran, nuclear deal, Obama
Monday, 09 March 2015 03:32 PM
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