Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker is being credited with finessing one of the biggest congressional assertions of foreign policy power in years.
The Foreign Relations Committee chairman, helped by Democrats, steered legislation through his panel Tuesday to give Congress a major role in any final U.S.-Iran nuclear deal.
He did it old-school style, Defense One reports.
Just hours before the vote — as strong bipartisan support for the bill and a potential veto-proof majority became evident — the White House dropped its opposition to the bill when Democrats and Corker made several changes, declaring that what was once unacceptable was now a harmless procedural step.
Corker knew better.
“In spite of what may be being said by buildings down the street on the other end of Pennsylvania [Avenue], this legislation is exactly the congressional review we have been working on since Day One,” Corker said.
The White House couldn’t stop the bill’s momentum, Defense One notes, and Corker conceded he didn’t mind the administration’s sudden embrace.
“Of course it was saving face. But listen: I’m glad they saved face and came on board,” he said after the vote, Defense One reports. The larger point was that it was “the beginning of a United States Congress, certainly a United States Senate, reasserting itself appropriately in foreign policy,” he said.
In a story published Wednesday, even the liberal New York Times conceded Corker’s win: “The White House tried to make the best of the setback… But the president’s concession in the face of potentially veto-proof majorities underscored that even his fellow Democrats believed he had overreached in trying to operate on his own. And it suggested that he may be approaching the outer boundaries of his authority with 21 months left in office.”