WASHINGTON — Conservative radio host Mark Levin unleashed on Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain Wednesday, after The Daily Caller told him McCain claimed the Senate had no ability to advice and consent on the nuclear deal the Obama administration made with Iran.
Sponsored in April by chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 came under scrutiny by conservatives, like National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, who say that such an international agreement is not binding because the Constitution requires that Congress approve it by one of two ways—either by supermajority approval by two-thirds of the Senate or enactment through the legislative process.
The Corker bill provided a process for neither but received an overwhelming majority of support from Senate Republicans. As a result of the passage of the bill, President Obama would no longer need a 2/3 super majority approval from the Senate to ratify the Iran deal.
Sen. McCain defended his vote for the Corker bill telling The Daily Caller Wednesday. “That’s the only thing that they could pass. This is the only way you could pass anything because the Democrats weren’t going to agree to anything else,” he said.
When pressed about why the Republicans allowed the White House to bypass the Senate’s advice and consent clause of the Constitution, he responded, “It’s not a treaty, though. That’s the problem. They’re calling it an agreement. If it were a treaty, then it would require 2/3 vote of the Senate in a positive fashion. You know your Constitution.”
When pressed further on the issue, McCain said, “Not when the administration doesn’t call it a treaty–okay? They’re the ones that label it. It is not a treaty. We can’t designate it. They have the ability to call it an agreement. We do not. Those are the facts.”
He went further, “The Congress cannot designate it as a treaty. Ask a Constitutional scholar. We cannot call an agreement a treaty. The administration has to call it a treaty. Ask anyone who is an expert on the Constitution. Yes, you’re frustrated. I am terribly frustrated, because I think this is going to be a new nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and further destabilizing the most destabilized part of the world.”
Levin, a constitutional attorney, calls McCain’s claims about treaties wrong. “Reading is fundamental and John McCain doesn’t know how to read the constitution, “ Levin told The Daily Caller. “The treaty power belongs to the Senate. The president doesn’t get to designate whether the Senate is involved in the treaty process or not. The Senate has independent power to make that determination.”
Levin explained, “And John McCain voted to surrender that power to Obama. Otherwise, why bother to have a vote at all on the Corker bill? The Senate could have taken up this agreement as a treaty and had a full debate on the Senate floor and involve the entire nation on what’s taking place and the Senate either ratifies or does not ratify.”
“If two-thirds of the Senators present vote ‘yes,’ it’s ratified. If two-thirds do not, it’s not ratified. The president simply cannot designate that he has negotiated as something that it is not and then the Senate simply abide by a president’s declaration,” Levin said. “I would suggest that Senator McCain take A few moments off from his appearances on Cable TV to read the history of the treaties clause of the Constitution.”