Amendment Text: S.Amdt.1150 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (04/28/2015)

This Amendment appears on page S2456-2457 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 62 (Tuesday, April 28, 2015)]
[Pages S2452-S2468]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Franken pertaining to the introduction of S. 1112 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I yield the floor to the good Senator 
from Texas.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip is recognized.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, today and for the next few days we will 
have the opportunity to consider a very important piece of legislation, 
the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015--a piece of legislation 
that, like all the legislation we consider here, is important, but this 
particular legislation is important to our national security and, 
indeed, it is important to the peace and security of our allies around 
the world.
  This bill represents a good, bipartisan effort. It passed unanimously 
out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 19 to 0 
earlier this month.
  The reason this legislation is so important is because it would 
guarantee Congress the opportunity and the time necessary to scrutinize 
any agreement reached between the Obama administration and the P5+1 
nations that are currently negotiating on the Iranian nuclear capacity. 
It would also prohibit the President from lifting sanctions on Iran 
during this period of review.
  This is not important because we are U.S. Senators; this is important 
because we represent the American people, and the American people need 
to understand what is in this agreement and what it means to their 
safety and security and to that of future generations.
  I think it is critical that Congress have this opportunity to 
understand completely and thoroughly any deal that is cut between this 
administration and Iran and, of course, its implications, particularly 
on a matter that is so vital to our national security. If the Congress 
can have a voice on ongoing trade negotiations--which we do--with many 
of our allies, how much more so should Congress have, at the very 
least, a review of the final negotiated deal with one of our stated 
  As I have made clear before, I have serious reservations about the 
framework that has been announced with Iran. This framework, as it is 
called, is right now very vague, and it strikes me as somewhat 
convoluted. It also represents a significant departure from 
longstanding U.S. policy to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon and 
instead puts us on a path--a feeble path, at that--to try to contain an 
Iranian nuclear weapon. Such an outcome is irresponsible, unacceptable, 
and dangerous. We simply cannot trust the Iranian leadership with 
threshold nuclear capabilities, which is exactly what the President's 
framework would do at this point. The concept of good-faith 
negotiations between us and Iran is a fantasy. Iran is a rogue regime 
and the world's foremost sponsor of international terrorism, and to 
trust them--to trust them--would be laughable and also reckless.
  Iran and its proxies have been attacking and killing Americans and 
attempting to undermine our national security interests for at least 
the last three decades. Unfortunately, Iran's proxy war throughout the 
Middle East is well documented. Right at this moment, Iran's regional 
adventurism continues to destabilize areas where American interests are 
at stake, including war-torn Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Even

[[Page S2453]]

more worrisome, Iranian officials have publicly stated that even during 
this period of ``understanding,'' while the details are being worked 
out, Iran has made clear that its true intentions are to destroy one of 
the United States' most stalwart allies, Israel, and to further Iran's 
aspiration as a regional hegemon and Iranian empire. This is the kind 
of country--a country that has been on our own State Department's 
sponsors of terrorism list since 1984. This is the administration that 
is being negotiated with by the Secretary of State and the Obama 
administration's representatives. That is why this bill is so 
important, because we need a congressional backstop against an Iranian 
regime that is well known for being deceptive and, frankly, lying to 
international institutions and inspectors.
  One thing this legislation does do, which I applaud, is it guarantees 
Congress the time and the opportunity for us to scrutinize, debate, and 
judge this deal if it is made by the summer. Many of our Senate 
colleagues have ideas about how to further improve the bill, which is 
admittedly not perfect. No piece of legislation ever is.
  I look forward to a lively and healthy debate on the Senate floor. 
This will be an important debate on a serious matter of national 
security and one that has a clear ramification for generations yet to 
come. That is what the United States--the Founders of our country--
designed the Senate for. I expect the Senate will be doing what only it 
can do--having a lively debate, having a fulsome review of this 
legislation, and then voting on the outcome. But I am thankful to those 
who produced this bipartisan piece of legislation, and I am glad that 
we are united in our strong belief that robust congressional review of 
any potential Iranian deal is an absolute necessity.
  On behalf of the American people, America's elected representatives 
should be able to get any and every detail on this emerging deal. We 
should have the time and the space to review it and make sure we 
understand its terms and its implications. We need to be able in this 
debate to voice our concerns and ultimately have a timely opportunity 
to prevent this deal from being implemented if we conclude in the end 
that it is not in America's best interests.
  Going forward, I hope the spirit of bipartisanship that has brought 
us this far, so far, is evidenced in this Chamber over the debate that 
will ensue. I look forward to discussing this legislation and providing 
a clear path for congressional review of any potential deal President 
Obama may make with Iran.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I rise today to speak to the bill that is 
before us with regard to the Iran negotiations. I wish to address two 
fundamental and major segments of this process. One is the process and 
the other is the substance of the agreement which, hopefully, will come 
before this body at the end of June or July.
  First is the process. We are operating in a constitutional gray area. 
There is no question that the Constitution assigns principal 
responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy to the President, but 
it also assigns responsibility to the Congress--responsibility with 
regard to treaties, responsibility with regard to funding the foreign 
policy of the United States, and responsibility with regard to 
approving foreign policy officials. So there is an opportunity here for 
us to break, in a sense, new ground to establish a rational, formal, 
predictable process for considering this important issue.
  If we don't pass a bill, such as the one that is before us today, we 
will be in a kind of disorganized, chaotic situation of what will be 
the congressional reaction, what is Congress's role, how will it be 
played out, and how will it work. I believe that it is very important 
for us to establish this process before the agreement is laid before 
the world and the American people. It sets forth a process whereby 
Congress with can weigh in in a meaningful way and determine the merits 
and the quality of the arrangement that is being set before us.
  I cannot imagine a more solemn responsibility for this body than the 
consideration of this matter. This is a decision which will affect the 
United States, our ally Israel, and all the countries of the Middle 
East for generations to come. This is a consideration that must be 
taken on the merits, on the facts, on the data, on the actual 
alternatives--and I will talk about that in a minute--that we have to 
the deal, or the arrangement, that we hope will ultimately be brought 
to us later this summer. Let's treat this issue on its merits, and, 
please, to my colleagues, let's not treat it as simply another partisan 
  We have a tendency around here for everything to become a partisan 
issue. A great Republican Senator of the 1950s said that ``politics 
should stop at the water's edge.'' That means that this kind of issue, 
which involves war and peace and ridding or preventing a major country 
from obtaining nuclear weapons and thereby destabilizing the region and 
possibly the world, is the most solemn kind of issue that we can face.
  I know that there are people in this body who are not supportive of 
the President. They oppose the President. They don't like what he did 
on health care or don't like what he did on immigration. This is not 
the place for partisan politics. That does not mean I am saying we 
should roll over and do whatever the President says. I don't mean that 
at all. What I mean is that this matter should be considered in the 
context of the facts and the merits. What will it actually do and what 
are the alternatives?
  It is not about whether we agree with this President or whether we 
want this President to have an international accomplishment on his 
resume. We have to try to separate ourselves from that kind of 
  Let's talk a bit about the agreement itself. The first thing to say 
about it is that it doesn't exist yet. It has not been finalized. We 
don't know what it is. I am a little surprised, frankly, when I hear 
many of my colleagues say that it is a terrible deal and won't work, 
when we don't even know what it is.
  It is true that we have a framework. Interestingly enough, many of 
the same people who are saying this is a terrible deal are the same 
people who said that the joint plan of action 1\1/2\ years ago was 
terrible--a historic mistake. It turned out to be a very important step 
toward an agreement and essentially froze Iran's nuclear program for 
the past 18 months.
  Let's take a deep breath and reserve judgment about whether this is a 
good deal, a bad deal or something in between until we actually see 
what it is and see what is signed. Hopefully, there will be something 
signed. We don't even know that for sure.
  Clearly, the framework agreement that was announced a few weeks ago 
is an important step in this process. It gives us some information, but 
it does not give us the all-important detail.
  First, let's do ``ready, aim, fire,'' not ``ready, fire, aim.'' Let's 
understand what it is we are debating and talking about before we fill 
the airwaves with rhetoric about whether this is a good or bad deal.
  Second, it has to be a good deal or we should not approve it. If the 
deal is illusory and structured in such a way that Iran has a clear 
path to the bomb and it would not slow them down, and, in fact, would 
facilitate it in some way, clearly we should not approve it and it 
should not be before us.
  I start with the premise that, A, we should hold our fire until we 
see what it actually says, and, B, it has to say the right things. It 
has to affirmatively stall, delay, and prohibit Iran's path to a 
nuclear weapon, and it must be totally verifiable. Ronald Reagan, of 
course, said ``Trust, but verify.'' In this case, it is don't trust and 
verify to the nth degree.
  I will submit that verification is the heart of the agreement, and it 
has to involve technology and people on the ground. It has to involve 
an openness to inspections that is unprecedented. We have experience 
from dealing with North Korea. We had a ``kind of'' agreement with 
North Korea which turned out not to be sufficient, and, in fact, they 
moved toward nuclear weapons by cheating.

[[Page S2454]]

  We cannot make that mistake again, and verification is the heart of 
it. It has to be as vigorous and as intrusive as is necessary in order 
to assure us and the world that Iran is not cheating and is not moving 
in any way, shape, or form toward a nuclear weapon.
  In this regard, I think we are extraordinarily fortunate in this 
moment of history when this particular negotiation is taking place, in 
that one of the President's principal advisers, the Secretary of 
Energy, happens to be a nuclear physicist. I don't know if we have ever 
had a nuclear physicist in that position before, but he is uniquely 
positioned to understand the details and the implications and the 
alternatives that can help us to assure that this arrangement provides 
the protection that we believe must be the case.
  In assessing this arrangement--whatever it is--I start with the 
premise that it has to be solid, verifiable, and meaningful. It cannot 
be just window dressing. It has to stop Iran's progress toward a bomb 
and create at least a 1-year breakout period so that the other 
alternatives can be exercised if they start moving in that direction. 
In order to assess that deal, it is imperative that we also assess 
alternatives. We cannot just say: Well, this is good or bad. It has to 
be, compared to what? There are really only two alternatives that I can 
see. If we don't make this arrangement, one alternative is more severe 
sanctions--more sanctions. Some people throw that out as if it was 
easy. ``More severe sanctions'' comes ``trippingly on the tongue,'' as 
Shakespeare would say.
  What is missing in this discussion is that we are not the only player 
here. This is not Barack Obama and the Supreme Leader. This is not the 
United States and Iran. This includes five other major countries, 
members of the Security Council of the United Nations, major countries 
that are involved in this whole discussion and negotiation, but most 
importantly, they are engaged in the sanctions.
  There is no doubt that our sanctions are important, but it is not 
only our unilateral sanctions that are necessarily providing all of the 
pressure on Iran. In fact, an argument can be made that it is the 
participation in sanctions by other countries in the world, not only by 
the P5+1, but by other countries as well that are not buying Iranian 
oil. We have not bought Iranian oil for 35 or 40 years. But people not 
buying Iranian oil include countries such as China, India, and Japan. 
Their decisions are contributing to the pressure that has brought Iran 
to the negotiating table.
  If the world decides this is a sufficient deal and sufficiently 
restricts Iran and that the verification is as vigorous as it needs to 
be--if the world decides that and we say, the heck with you, we are 
walking away, they may say that we have taken that step unilaterally 
and against the best judgment of what this deal means for keeping Iran 
from a nuclear weapon. Then the sanctions regime starts to fray, and, 
indeed, it starts to unwind. We can do all we want. We can stomp our 
feet and do more sanctions, but if the rest of the world is not with 
us, it is not going to be effective.
  The idea that somehow in this body, in this Congress, in this city we 
unilaterally can make the decision to impose additional sanctions that 
will bring Iran to its knees when the rest of the world doesn't agree 
with us is not a valid observation. So it is not so easy to say, oh, 
well, the alternative here is that if we don't like this deal, we will 
just go to more sanctions.

  Now, if the other members of our negotiating group decide they agree 
with us that it is not a good deal, then sanctions will continue and, 
indeed, probably strengthen. But I don't think we should feel that we 
have this kind of unilateral ``the heck with the rest of the world, we 
are going to do this ourselves'' mentality. I think that is a very 
important point to understand, that we are part of an international 
community that is negotiating this deal, and what other members of the 
community are doing in the way of sanctions is important, as well as 
our sanctions.
  Of course, the other alternative is military action. The other 
alternative is some kind of strike. There are various estimates I have 
heard in various forums and settings, but the most common estimate I 
have heard is that we could destroy their entire atomic infrastructure. 
We could level the buildings, destroy all the centrifuges, and we would 
set back their nuclear weapons program by 2 to 3 years. But what if we 
did that? We set it back by 2 to 3 years. We can't erase the knowledge 
they have. We have simply erased their infrastructure. The 
infrastructure can be rebuilt, and three things will have changed: No. 
1, they will have the knowledge; No. 2, they will never ever negotiate; 
and No. 3, we will have created enemies of an entire new generation of 
Iranian people. We will have alienated those people to the point where 
it will be impossible to negotiate, and we will be in a situation of 
some kind of military intervention as far as the eye can see.
  The military option has to be on the table. The President has to 
retain that option, and he has. But I think we have to be realistic 
about what that option means and the commitment it entails both from us 
and our allies. I am not saying it is off the table. I am not saying it 
would never happen. But what I am saying is we have to assess the 
negotiated arrangement in light of the realities of either the 
deterioration of the sanctions regime or the realities of facing 
military action.
  Finally, I know that as this debate continues there are going to be a 
series of amendments and a lot of those amendments are going to be 
appealing. For example, as part of the condition of the deal, Iran 
shall recognize Israel's right to exist or as part of the negotiation 
of the deal, Iran must forswear terrorism or the President has to 
certify that Iran forswears terrorism. Those are desirable, but they 
will never happen. Iran will not agree to those. So when we propose an 
amendment such as that, what we are really saying is we don't want an 
agreement, because that is never going to be an idea they are going to 
  I would submit I think Iran is a mischievous--that is too light a 
word--a dangerous country in terms of exporting terrorism. We see it 
throughout the region. There is only one scenario worse than an Iran 
that is attempting to support terrorism and destabilize regimes in the 
region, and that is an Iran that is supporting terrorism, destabilizing 
the region, armed with nuclear weapons.
  We can't solve all the problems in the region with this agreement. 
The purpose of this agreement is to keep Iran from achieving a nuclear 
weapon. That is what we have to keep our eye on. And if amendments--no 
matter how desirable, no matter how good they sound, no matter how 
politically appealing, if those amendments will undercut or effectively 
eliminate our ability to keep our eye on the main ball, which is to 
keep them from having nuclear weapons, those amendments will not serve 
us, our interests, Israel's interests, the Middle East's interests, or 
the world's interests.
  We have to focus on what it is we are trying to achieve, and what it 
is we are trying to achieve is incredibly important. A nuclear-armed 
Iran is a danger to the region, and it is a danger to the world. Right 
now, I think it is a very pivotal moment as to whether we are going to 
be able to achieve a realistic agreement that will make that less 
  Now, it may be that the agreement which we agree to and which goes 
into place doesn't work. It may be that they cheat. I would submit that 
at that point, we will be right where we are now. We can then talk with 
the rest of the world about additional sanctions. We do have the 
military option. We are no worse off than we are if we at least try to 
achieve a resolution of this grave issue through diplomacy, 
negotiation, and working with the rest of the world to try to eliminate 
this one problem.
  We are not going to eliminate all the world's problems with this one 
arrangement or negotiation, but if we can keep Iran, through this 
process, from achieving a nuclear weapon, from aspiring to a nuclear 
weapon, then we will have achieved something important for ourselves, 
for the future generations not only in the Middle East but in America 
and the world.
  Before I close, I would like to share my thoughts on the role of 
Chairman Corker and Ranking Member Cardin in bringing this matter to us 
in a thoughtful, responsible, deliberative

[[Page S2455]]

way. This is the way the Senate is supposed to work--committee 
consideration, debate, discussion, review of amendments, and bringing a 
bill to the floor for discussion and debate. I wish to acknowledge the 
work of the Senator from Tennessee, who has taken this so seriously and 
who is doing it in the best traditions of this body.
  I think we are embarking upon an important and solemn project here 
that can have enormous ramifications for ourselves and for our 
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak about the 
Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. I think this is a very important 
debate, very consequential. A nuclear Iran is a global threat to 
everyone everywhere. The world deserves our best effort at stopping 
Iran's illicit nuclear program.
  This does not mean we need to yield to Iran on important points just 
to win vague promises that they will give up their dreams of a nuclear 
weapon. I realize that. President Obama says he understands it would be 
better to have no deal than to have a bad deal. I agree with the 
President. This legislation is about making sure that any agreement the 
administration reaches with Iran is truly a good deal.
  President Obama made it clear that he did not want this bill. He 
fought tooth and nail to make sure this legislation would not succeed, 
even threatened to veto it. The President wanted members of his 
administration to do all of the negotiating in private. He wanted to 
decide for himself what is best. Well, that is not how things this 
important to our Nation are supposed to work.
  When the stakes are high, the American people deserve a say. The Vice 
President knows that. Back in 2008, Joe Biden was the chairman of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I served under him. He said, ``I 
have often stated that no foreign policy can be sustained without the 
informed consent of the American people.'' Well, that informed consent 
includes allowing Congress to review important foreign policy decisions 
like any agreement over Iran's nuclear program.
  Now, I have my concerns about the parts of this deal that have been 
made public so far. I am also concerned about some of the confusion 
there seems to be between the White House and the Iranians. There is a 
clear disagreement about the lifting of economic sanctions against 
Iran. Iran has said a final deal must remove all of the economic 
sanctions on day No. 1. The administration has said sanctions will be 
lifted in phases and only if Iran complies with different steps along 
the way.
  So if a final deal is ever reached, it is going to be very important 
that we, the American people, have a very clear airing of all of the 
terms and an understanding of really what is in the deal. We need to 
make sure everyone agrees on what the deal actually says. I believe 
Iran is simply not trustworthy and we cannot afford to take chances 
with something this important.
  Any agreement must be enforceable, any agreement must be verifiable, 
and any agreement must be accountable. The President has now accepted 
that he needs to come to Congress and to get the support of the 
American people before he goes to the United Nations. Under the bill, 
the President must certify a few things every 90 days: He has to 
certify that Iran is fully implementing the agreement. He has to 
certify that Iran has not committed a material breach. He needs to 
certify that Iran has not engaged in any covert action to advance its 
own nuclear weapons program. The President has to confirm to Congress 
that Iran is playing by the rules.
  Now, if the President cannot do that, the bill creates an expedited 
process for Congress to take action. The way this bill was originally 
written, by Republicans and Democrats together, the bill also said 
something that many Americans believe is vitally important: It said the 
President must certify that Iran was not directly supporting or 
carrying out an act of terrorism against the United States or against 
an American citizen anywhere in the world.
  To me, this was a very important part of the original bipartisan 
bill, a bill which had bipartisan support and bipartisan sponsorship. 
During the negotiations in the committee, this consequential part of 
the original bill was removed.
  Congressional sanctions, I think, have been devastating to Iran's 
economy. It is what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first 
place. Once the sanctions are lifted, Iran will have a lot of money 
that it did not have before. Now, I do not believe Iran is going to use 
that money to build schools or hospitals or roads or to improve the 
lives of the people in their country. Iran is going to have access to 
tens of billions if not over $100 billion that it can use to finance 
groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
  Will there be any meaningful part of the final deal that guarantees 
that they will not use that money to support terrorists? Congress and 
the American people need to know if Iran is directly supporting acts of 
terrorism against our country and our people. The Iranian nuclear issue 
is absolutely intertwined, in my opinion, with terrorism. The two 
cannot be separated. So during the process of negotiating this bill, 
this was the only certification requirement that was left out. All the 
other parts stayed in. The critical part about making sure Iran was not 
supporting terrorism against our country came out. The President didn't 
want it there. Why wouldn't the President want to tell the American 
people about the terrorist threats facing our country and our citizens? 
If Iran is supporting terrorist attacks on Americans, then why would we 
trust them to keep their word on the nuclear program? So I have 
proposed an amendment that would restore the terrorism certification 
that was in the original bipartisan bill. That is all.
  I think it is very important that the American people hear from the 
President on this important point. Now, I understand some Senators do 
not like the idea of the President having to certify something like 
this. Some people have said that this requirement would compromise the 
ability of the United States to continue its negotiations. I disagree. 
My amendment simply says that if Iran is supporting acts of terrorism 
against our Nation and our people, then Congress will have a more 
streamlined process to address it. It is all very simple.
  That same process applies to all of the other things that the 
President has to certify. Would those other things compromise our 
ability to negotiate? This amendment would not get rid of the rest of 
our agreement on Iran's nuclear program, it would just allow a clear 
picture of whom we are dealing with. It would make it easier for 
Congress to act. It does not make it automatic. Congress still has to 
decide what to do. This just makes it easier.
  That is what my amendment does. It is not the only thing I would like 
to change in the bill. I hope we can have other amendments as well. It 
is important for Congress and the American people to have their say on 
any final deal. It is just as important that the oversight we provide 
be meaningful and that Congress state clearly that we will not tolerate 
Iran's support of terrorism. If our negotiators reach a final agreement 
with Iran, I will be giving it very close scrutiny in the Foreign 
Relations Committee and on the floor of the Senate. This is a 
consequential piece of legislation. It is an important bill, and there 
are ways we can make it even stronger. My amendment is a start.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, first, let me thank Senator Barrasso for 
his help in bringing this bill forward. He made valuable contributions 
during the committee's consideration and the managers' amendment. I 
know how strongly he feels about the certification issue.
  I want to point out--I know Senator Barrasso is aware of this--with 
his help and Senator Corker's help and all of the members' of the 
committee, we have added very strong language in this bill that 
requires the President to

[[Page S2456]]

report to Congress periodically on the status of Iranian activity in 
the areas he is concerned about.
  For example, the President must make an assessment of whether any 
Iranian financial institutions are engaged in money laundering or 
terrorist finance activity, including names of specific financial 
institutions if applicable; Iran's advancements in the ballistic 
program, including developments related to its long-range and 
intercontinental ballistic missile program; an assessment of whether 
Iran directly supported, financed, planned or carried out an act of 
terrorism against the United States or United States persons anywhere 
in the world; whether and the extent to which Iran supported acts of 
terrorism, including acts of terrorism against the United States or 
United States persons anywhere in the world; all actions, including in 
international fora, being taken by the United States to stop, counter, 
and condemn acts by Iran to directly or indirectly carry out acts of 
terrorism against the United States and United States persons; the 
impact on the national security of the United States and the safety of 
U.S. citizens as a result of any Iranian actions reported in this 
  Then, we require an assessment of whether violations of 
internationally recognized human rights in Iran have changed, increased 
or decreased, as compared to the prior period.
  I just point that out because Senator Barrasso raises a very valid 
point about Congress having information in order to carry out its 
responsibilities. We made this bill very clear that our interest in 
Iran goes well beyond its nuclear weapons program. We are concerned 
about Iran's sponsorship of terrorism. We are concerned about Iran's 
human rights violations. We are concerned about Iran's ballistic 
missile program. As the framework in the April 2 agreement points out, 
nothing will affect the sanctions that are currently in place as it 
relates to terrorism, human rights violations or the ballistic missile 
  So I understand the Senator's concerns. I thank him for helping us 
develop a bill that I think is well balanced in the area of his 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I, too, want to thank the Senator from 
Wyoming for his continually constructive role and just the tone in 
which he talked about this last issue. I will say that in negotiations 
with Senator Cardin, we added all kinds of reporting mechanisms. It is 
true that the negotiations that are underway have nothing to do with 
alleviating any kinds of terrorist sanctions, human rights sanctions or 
ballistic missile testing sanctions. I will just say that should Iran 
commit an act of terrorism against an American, sanctions would be the 
minimum, I think, they would have to be worried about. I would think 
bombs and missiles on heads would be what they would be concerned 

  I think we have in place mechanisms that allow us to know these 
things. I have a feeling that if Iran, again, commits any kind of act 
of terrorism against Americans--which is what is being talked about 
here--significant kinetic activity would be taking place. Sanctions, to 
me, would be the least of their worries.
  But I am pleased that we were glad to clear up all of the reporting 
requirements but also to stipulate, again, that in this particular bill 
we are talking about the nuclear file, not alleviating sanctions on any 
of the other components.
  Let me just say, if there is a deal--and this is something I have 
tried to make clear from day one--I hope it is a good deal. I know the 
Senator from Wyoming does too. We know the best route for us is to have 
a negotiated good deal.
  But in the event we end up with a negotiated good deal and sanctions 
are relieved, these four tranches of sanctions that we put in place 
since 2010 are then available to us to reapply in the event we find 
human rights violations, we find ballistic testing is getting out of 
hand or we have terrorist activity, to add again an additional crushing 
blow to the Iranian economy.
  I thank the Senator for his steadfast concern in this regard. I thank 
him for the way he works with all of us. I hope we are going to be in a 
process very soon to be voting on some amendments. I know we think we 
have agreed to some language, and hopefully that will begin very soon.
  Mr. CARDIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Massachusetts is recognized.
  (The remarks of Ms. Warren pertaining to the introduction of S. 1109 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington is recognized.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 
minutes as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mrs. Murray pertaining to the introduction of S. 1112 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mrs. MURRAY. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.

                           Education Reforms

  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I would like to congratulate the ranking 
member on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the 
outstanding occurrence last week where the committee, on a 22-to-0 
vote, voted out the education reforms that are going to affect young 
people throughout our country. It was a great undertaking, and I think 
it speaks to her willingness to reach across the aisle and to solve 
problems that matter so much to all of our constituents. I wanted to 
thank her for being here today and for being a part of this debate.
  Mrs. MURRAY. If I could just thank the Senator. I was very impressed 
with the work of Senator Alexander on the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor and Pensions. He worked with all our members to make 
sure we replace the No Child Left Behind Act--which I think most 
Americans agree is not working today--with a bipartisan approach. I am 
hopeful we can bring it to the Senate floor and move it through quickly 
because this is a law that does need to be fixed.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                Amendment No. 1150 to Amendment No. 1140

  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up my amendment No. 1150.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I just want 
to know which amendment the Senator is calling up. Is this the 
amendment that would change this into a treaty obligation?
  Mr. JOHNSON. That is correct.
  Mr. CARDIN. I have no objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Johnson], for himself, Mr. 
     Risch, Mr. Toomey, and Mr. Cruz, proposes an amendment 
     numbered 1150 to amendment No. 1140.

  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To declare that any agreement reached by the President 
  relating to the nuclear program of Iran is deemed a treaty that is 
            subject to the advice and consent of the Senate)

       Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 


       Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any agreement 
     reached by the President

[[Page S2457]]

     with Iran relating to the nuclear program of Iran is deemed 
     to be a treaty that is subject to the requirements of article 
     II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution of the United 
     States requiring that the treaty is subject to the advice and 
     consent of the Senate, with two-thirds of Senators 


       Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President 
     may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or 
     otherwise limit the application of sanctions under any other 
     provision of law or refrain from applying any such sanctions 
     pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of 
     Iran that includes the United States, commits the United 
     States to take action, or pursuant to which the United States 
     commits or otherwise agrees to take action, regardless of the 
     form it takes, whether a political commitment or otherwise, 
     and regardless of whether it is legally binding or not, 
     including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into 
     or made between Iran and any other parties, and any 
     additional materials related thereto, including annexes, 
     appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing 
     materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other 
     understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered 
     into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered 
     into or implemented in the future, subject to the advice and 
     consent of the Senate as a treaty, receives the concurrence 
     of two thirds of the Senators.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin is recognized.
  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, this deal the administration is involved 
in making with Iran has serious implications not only for America's 
long-term national security but for really the peace and security of 
the world.
  It is true that at this point in time, nobody knows what is really in 
the deal. We certainly have been given a framework in terms of what the 
deal is supposed to be. But what we do know is that even within that 
framework as has been described to the American public, there are some 
serious discrepancies in terms of the way this administration has 
typified that framework of the deal and what the Ayatollah in Iran--how 
they have described that deal.
  For example, according to our President, the sanctions will only be 
lifted once Iran has complied with major components of the agreement. 
According to the Ayatollah, those sanctions will be lifted immediately. 
That is a big discrepancy.
  According to this administration, we will have the right to inspect 
to ensure verification and accountability of any agreement. The 
Ayatollah disagrees with that. The Ayatollah certainly says there will 
be no inspections on military sites. If we want to enter into this 
agreement to prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon, surely we 
should have the right to inspect the military sites.
  Another pretty serious discrepancy in terms of the administration's 
understanding of what this framework is versus the Ayatollah's 
understanding, what is going to happen with the 10,000 kilograms of 
enriched uranium? According to this administration, it is going to be 
shipped out of the country, not available for any kind of nuclear 
program. According to the Ayatollah, no way; it is going to stay in 
  So those are major discrepancies in terms of what this agreement is 
all about, the types of discrepancies that certainly need to be fully 
vetted, and the American people need to understand what that is.
  There have also been some real deceptions about this agreement. For 
example, we have heard repeatedly in hearings that this administration 
will insist that any agreement will ensure that the nuclear program 
within Iran will be for peaceful purposes.
  I have to point out that there is no peaceful purpose for Iran to 
have nuclear enrichment. If they want peaceful nuclear power, they can 
certainly do what a number of other countries that have peaceful 
nuclear power have done: They can purchase that uranium fuel, that 
nuclear fuel from outside countries. The only reason Iran would subject 
itself to the sanctions, to the isolation, to the economic harm to its 
economy and its people, is because it wants nuclear weapons to 
blackmail the region and the world.
  Of course, this administration talks about snapback of sanctions. 
That is deceptive because once these sanctions are relaxed, once these 
sanctions are lifted, it will be virtually impossible--once tens of 
billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars of investment from the 
West and from other countries start flowing to Iran, it will be 
impossible or almost virtually impossible to put those sanctions back 
in place.
  We have had a sanctions regime going back to--U.N. resolutions dating 
back to 2006. It took years for those sanctions to really take hold, to 
have the teeth that brought Iran to the bargaining table. 
Unfortunately, in its negotiations, this administration relaxed those 
sanctions and basically acknowledged Iran's right to enrich uranium 
and, in that event, basically lost these negotiations before they ever 
  So there are an awful lot of deceptive typifications about what this 
deal is and what it won't be and what it will be. The purpose of my 
amendments is to bring clarity to what the Iran Nuclear Agreement 
Review Act would be and what it is not.
  I give the chairman and the ranking member of our Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee a great deal of credit for trying to come up with 
some sort of deal, some sort of law that will give Congress some kind 
of role in this incredibly important deal. But this is not Congress's 
rightful role. This is not what the Framers felt, in article II, 
section 2 of the Constitution, would be advice and consent. It is far 
from it.
  There are basically three forms of international agreements: There is 
a treaty, there is a congressional executive agreement, and then there 
is just an executive agreement. There is really no set criteria of what 
makes one international agreement a treaty, a congressional executive 
agreement, or an executive agreement. They are considerations. There is 
precedent. What, in fact, basically is the final determination is how 
that particular agreement is ratified or approved by Congress or not 
approved by Congress.
  I believe when we take a look at the considerations in the State 
Department's own foreign policy manual, consideration No. 1 is ``the 
extent to which this agreement involves commitments or risks affecting 
the nation as a whole.'' I would say this agreement with Iran certainly 
involves risks that affect our entire Nation.
  Consideration No. 3 is whether the agreement ``can be given effect 
without the enactment of subsequent legislation by the Congress.'' The 
whole point of this particular act is that we have put sanctions in 
place by passing laws in Congress, and Congress does realize that we 
have a role in any lifting of those sanctions.
  Consideration No. 5 is ``the preference of Congress as to a 
particular type of agreement.'' Well, there can be some dispute, and 
that is really at the heart of what my amendments would do, is involve 
Congress in determining what exactly this deal is. Is it a treaty? Is 
it a congressional executive agreement? Is it simply an executive 
agreement that really does not have long-lasting effects?
  Now, that is really the point of my first amendment. I believe that 
this is of such importance, that this deal is so important to the 
security of this Nation and to world peace that it rises to the level 
of a treaty. So my amendment simply strikes the Iran Nuclear Agreement 
Review Act and replaces it with a simple statement that this Congress 
deems this agreement with Iran as a treaty.
  The other thing my amendment does is it removes the waiver authority 
this Congress granted this President as relates to those sanctions. 
That would then require this President, upon completion of the deal 
with Iran, to come to this Congress--as was contemplated by article II, 
section 2 of the Constitution--for the advice and consent of this body, 
so that 67 Senators would have to vote affirmatively that this is a 
good deal, that basically the American public would be involved in the 
decision through their elected representatives. We are not being given 
that opportunity. The American public is not being given that 
opportunity right now. What is happening right now under this Iran 
Nuclear Agreement Review Act is we have turned advice and consent on 
its head. We have lowered the threshold to what advice and consent 
means as relates to this Iran deal.
  Hopefully we are going to vote--and it sounds as if we will--on this 
  I have a second amendment. In case this one does not succeed, I have 
a second amendment. If this Congress, this Senate doesn't want to treat 
this as a treaty, we should at a minimum treat it as a congressional 
executive agreement. I am willing to lower that

[[Page S2458]]

threshold under expedited procedures to a simple majority vote of both 
Houses, 50 percent.
  I contemplated and I had actually written an amendment to really 
detail what this review act really is--a low-threshold congressional 
executive agreement. And when I say ``low threshold,'' I mean that what 
is going to happen here if we pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review 
Act is we will get a vote of disapproval. If 60 Senators agree this is 
a bad deal for America and they disapprove of it, we can pass that 
disapproval, and then that goes to the President for signature. He can 
veto that. Of course, if he vetoes that, it would take two-thirds of 
this body to override that veto and two-thirds of the House to override 
that veto. That requires 67 Senators. If we are unable to muster those 
67 votes to override the veto of our vote of disapproval on a bad deal 
between Iran and America, what we, in fact, have done is we have given 
34 Senators the ability to approve that bad deal.
  When I offered that amendment to the Parliamentarian--that would 
basically show with real clarity that what this Iran Nuclear Agreement 
Review Act really is, is a very low threshold approval by this body--
the Parliamentarian I think very appropriately ruled that amendment out 
of order, unconstitutional. You can't approve something with just 34 
votes in the Congress, in the Senate. I think that is my point.
  I appreciate the fact that we will be able to vote on my amendment 
deeming this deal between America and Iran a treaty so that the 
American people have the ability to weigh in, to have a say in whether 
this is important enough to be affirmatively approved--as our 
Constitution contemplated with an international agreement of this 
importance--be affirmatively approved by 67 Senators, and I urge my 
colleagues to support this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I want to thank the Senator for his active 
involvement on our Foreign Relations Committee. He is a valuable 
member, and I appreciate his concern about this issue. I know he 
understands that this is an amendment that is likely not to pass. Let 
me tell you why.
  Four times since 2010, Congress has put in sanctions that most people 
believe is what brought Iran to the table--four different tranches. 
They began in 2010. In almost every one of these cases they have had 
huge bipartisan support. I know the Senator knows this. But what 
happened was when those were done--as a matter of fact, this Senator 
three of those four times voted to give the President a national 
security waiver on the congressionally mandated sanctions. I know the 
Senator knows this as well. We talked about it extensively. I know he 
has had conversations with the Secretary of State--former Secretary of 
State Condoleezza Rice, as I have multiple times, and she agrees this 
is an executive agreement. Let me tell you why.
  The reason it is an executive agreement is right now the President 
has the ability to go straight to the U.N. Security Council, working 
with the other members, and alleviate the U.N. Security Council's 
sanctions. Obviously, he has the ability to do that with the Executive 
sanctions that he himself put in place.
  What Congress has done--and I know the Senator participated because 
he, too, wanted to make sure we sanctioned Iran to bring them to the 
table, as we have. But I know this Senator has been here long enough 
that in three of those times, he gave--he gave--the President the 
unilateral ability to waive these sanctions.
  I was very concerned about this and wrote a letter to the President 
about 2 months ago asking how he planned to do this. The President--
obviously, I got a response from the Chief of Staff, and they made it 
very clear. They plan to go straight to the U.N. Security Council, and 
it is my understanding that what they plan to do is use something 
called a nonbinding political commitment--that is what they plan to do 
with Iran if they come to an agreement--and then have that endorsed by 
the U.N. Security Council.
  While I very much appreciate the sentiment of the Senator--whom I 
love working with and I am glad we have a businessman of his caliber 
here--I think he knows that what we are actually doing here is 
something that is unprecedented; that is, that we are taking back from 
the President authority that has already been given to him, causing him 
to have to bring this agreement to us. I know it is not to the level he 
would like--candidly, not to the level I would like. I agree with that.
  Let me say this: We know that in the event that this amendment were 
to pass, it would be vetoed and, therefore, it is a substitute for the 
bill that is before us. So what that would mean is no limitation would 
be on the President's use of waivers to suspend sanctions that we put 
in place, no requirement that Congress receive the deal at all, never 
mind the classified annexes that we all know are a big part of this 
and, by the way, the American people are never going to see.
  Without the bill that is on the floor, the American people will never 
see it. We will see it on their behalf because we believe that on 
behalf of the American people, somebody should go through this bill and 
this deal in detail, if there is a deal reached. There will be no 
review period for Congress to see the deal and vote before it is 
implemented, no requirement that the President certify that Iran is 
complying, no mechanism for Congress to rapidly reimpose the sanctions, 
and no reporting on Iran's support for terrorism, ballistic missile 
development, and human rights violations.
  Now, look, if I could wave a magic wand or all of a sudden donkeys 
flew around the Capitol, I would love for us to have the ability to 
deem this a treaty. I really would. I think the Senator knows I mean 
that. I would love for us to have to affirmatively approve this. But 
unfortunately, a lot of us are article II folks, and we think the 
President has the ability to negotiate things. We had no idea this 
President would consider suspending these sanctions ad infinitum 
forever--no idea. I think even people on this side of the aisle were 
shocked. As a matter of fact, Tim Kaine, thankfully, in a meeting where 
Secretary Kerry--I am sorry, was being one tick too cute at one of our 
hearings--said: You are going to have the right to vote on it. Of 
course, what he meant was 5 years down the road, 6 years down the road, 
after the sanctions regime has been eliminated.
  Look, I have strong agreement with the sentiment of our Senator from 
Wisconsin, somebody I love serving with, but let's not let the perfect 
be the enemy of the good. Let's ensure that we have the ability to see 
the details of this deal that it lays before us, that the clock doesn't 
start until we get all of the classified annexes on behalf of the 
American people, some of whom are here in the Gallery watching this. On 
their behalf, we have the ability to see what is in this.
  By the way, if we don't like it, yes, there is a large hurdle in the 
Senate. We know the way the Senate operates. We have to have a 60-vote 
threshold. In the House, it is a simple majority. It is a simple 
majority in the House.
  Look, I agree with the sentiment. This is one of the biggest 
geopolitical issues that will potentially happen if an agreement is 
reached in our lifetime here in the Senate. I hope people, in spite of 
the fact that I agree with the sentiment, will vote against the Johnson 
amendment when it comes to the floor and make sure we can pass the bill 
that is before us so that on behalf of the American people, we have the 
opportunity to see it, to weigh in. By the way, one of the things that 
is very important, that lives beyond--lives beyond--is that every 90 
days the President is having to comply that Iran is--or is having to 
certify that Iran is complying with the agreement.
  Again, I thank the Senator. I appreciate his sentiments.
  I yield the floor.
  I see that the distinguished minority leader is here on the floor. My 
sense is he has something to say.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I have said on a number of occasions, and I 
have told the Senators, but not with both of them present, how much I 
admire their legislative skills. What they have brought to the Senate 
is a work of art. I will always be amazed at how they were able to 
accomplish this 19 to 0 coming out of that committee.

[[Page S2459]]

  As I said earlier today, I hope we can preserve the structure of this 
great piece of legislation that the two fine Senators were able to come 
up with.

                          Opportunity and Hope

  Mr. President, on another subject, we are all saddened by what we 
have witnessed unfold in the streets of Baltimore. A man is dead who 
should not be dead. His name was Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray's name will 
not be forgotten.
  This young man's death is the latest in a series of disturbing and 
unnecessary deaths of young men of color at the hands of police and 
vigilantes. To be clear, violence is never acceptable in any regard. It 
is never an acceptable response, even in tragedies such as these.
  The rioting and looting we are seeing on the streets of Baltimore 
will only further damage a community in a great American city that is 
already hurting. We should not let the violence perpetrated by a few 
become an excuse to ignore the underlying problem: that millions of 
Americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against 
  It is easy to feel powerless when you see the rich getting richer, 
the poor getting poorer. The opportunities to build a better life for 
yourself and your family are nonexistent, nonexistent in your 
community. It is easy to feel devalued when schools in your community 
are failing. It is easy to believe the system is rigged against you 
when you spend years watching what President Obama called ``a slow-
rolling crisis'' of troubling police interactions with people of color.
  No American should ever feel powerless--no American. No American 
should ever feel their life is not valued, but that is what our system 
says to many of our fellow citizens. No American should be denied the 
opportunity to better their lives through their own hard work, but that 
is a reality too many face.
  In a nation that prides itself on being a land of opportunity, 
millions--not thousands, millions--of our fellow citizens live every 
day with little hope of building a better future no matter how hard 
they try.
  We cannot condone the violence we see in Baltimore, but we must not 
ignore the despair and hopelessness that gives rise to the claim of 
violence. This is not just about inner cities. This is about the deep, 
crushing poverty that infects rural and suburban communities across our 
great country.
  It does not matter if you live in Searchlight, NV, or the 
metropolitan Las Vegas area--which is now more than 2 million people--
or in Baltimore, rural America, when there is no hope, anger and 
despair move in. That is the way it is. We cannot ignore that. So let's 
condemn the violence, but let's not ignore the underlying problem.
  Let's not pretend the system is fair. Let's not pretend everything is 
OK. Let's not pretend the path from poverty--like the one I traveled--
is still available to everyone out there as long as they work hard 
because it is not.
  For hard work to bear fruit, there must be opportunity and there must 
be hope.
  I cannot imagine what direction my life would have taken without the 
hope of the American dream. As a little boy I had that. As a teenager I 
had it. I had it in college. So instead of turning a blind eye, let's 
work together and take the problem seriously.
  There is bipartisan work being done on criminal justice, and that is 
a good start. We need criminal justice reform. That is a good start, 
but it is only a start. Ensuring that populations are not unfairly 
targeted for incarceration will be a positive step, a real positive 
step. But we also need to be investing in inner cities and rural areas 
and ensuring that jobs and training and educational opportunities are 
available where they are needed the most.
  Looking out at the year ahead, the only piece of legislation I see on 
the agenda that does anything to create jobs is the surface 
transportation bill. There is nothing else. Look around. That is not 
enough. We need to do more. It is up to us in this Capitol to create 
these jobs. Democrats and Republicans must work together to make sure 
Americans have a right to succeed and America continues to be a land of 
opportunity for all of our citizens, not some of our citizens.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, let me first thank Leader Reid for his 
comments about the circumstances in Baltimore. I spoke a little bit 
earlier today about Baltimore. It is my home city, the city I love. It 
is a people I love. We are really hurting from what happened. I 
appreciate the leader's comments about it.
  We are going to get through this, we are going to restore order in 
Baltimore, and there will be justice for Freddie Gray. We are all going 
to work together. I appreciate the outreach we have received from the 
White House and from the Federal and State in helping Baltimore restore 
the order in our city.

                           Amendment No. 1150

  Mr. President, I just want to respond very briefly. I see Senator 
Isakson is here. I will not take too much more of his time. Let me 
respond briefly in support of Senator Corker's concerns concerning 
Senator Johnson's amendment. I oppose that amendment.
  The determination of a treaty is an Executive decision. The 
ratification of a treaty is a legislative decision. When we go through 
treaty negotiations and ratification, we delegate legislative 
authority. It would then be up to a different entity to make decisions.
  I know my colleagues are very concerned about treaty obligations and 
the ratification of treaties. This clearly would raise some 
constitutional issues with this type of legislation.
  Let me just give you the practical problem we have here. In 2012, we 
entered into a treaty for disabilities. I don't believe it is 
controversial at all. It does not change any of our laws. We have not 
acted on that yet.
  In 1994, the United States entered into a treaty with the Law of the 
Seas. Most countries have ratified that treaty, not the United States. 
That was 1994. So now if Senator Johnson's amendment became law, the 
President would have no authority to implement this agreement because 
the waiver authorities will be gone and it would require ratification 
to move forward. We cannot pass a disability treaty in this body. We 
can't even pass a tax treaty in this body.
  It would be beyond belief that this really would allow us to move 
forward with a negotiation with Iran. This is what we call a poison 
pill. It would prevent this bill--one of a couple of things. This bill 
would not become law. It would not pass or it would be vetoed by the 
President, and he would not override the veto. If it became law, it 
would kill negotiations. There would be no negotiations. The United 
States would be isolated because our negotiating partners would be 
wondering why we are withdrawing from the negotiations, not Iran. The 
United States would be isolated.
  And the final line, it would make it more likely, not less likely, 
that Iran will become a nuclear weapon state. That is why Senator 
Corker and I strongly oppose Senator Johnson's amendment. At the 
appropriate time, we will be asking our colleagues to vote against it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.

            Thoughts and Prayers for the People of Baltimore

  Mr. ISAKSON. First, Mr. President, to Senator Cardin, the people of 
Maryland and Senator Mikulski, on behalf of the people of Georgia, our 
prayers and sympathy go to your great State in a time of trouble. 
Anytime there is violence in a city in America, whether it is Atlanta 
or whether it is Baltimore, whether it is Washington, whether it is Los 
Angeles, it is a problem for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are 
with the people of Baltimore, and we hope that peace returns as quickly 
as possible.

  My purpose in rising is to first talk about the deal that is before 
us in terms of the congressional review act, in terms of the Iranian 
deal that is being negotiated by the President.
  I thank the ranking member, Senator Cardin, and the previous ranking 
member, Senator Menendez, for their hard work, and I thank Senator 
Corker for his leadership as chairman.
  This is a most important deal. As a politician, when I travel in my 
State, I have two great tests that I use to understand the veracity of 
a deal. The first is the tear test, and second is the nod test.

[[Page S2460]]

  Sunday night, I attended a celebration of the 67th anniversary of the 
independence of the State of Israel, which was at a synagogue in 
Atlanta, GA. I was asked to speak. In my speech I said: One thing you 
can count on for sure is that I thank God for the nation of Israel and 
for the fact that in 1948 it found a home. Equally, I thank God for the 
fact that I serve in the Senate.
  I will have a vote over the congressional review of any deal made 
with Iran, and I promise the people of Israel that no deal with the 
Iranians will be mentioned or agreed to as long as I have anything to 
say about it as long as the people of Israel are not respected, 
protected, and honored not only by us but the people of Iran as well. 
That is essential to me, and I think this congressional review act 
gives us the opportunity to do that. A tear came out of Rabbi Bortz's 
eye. She thanked me for looking out for the people of Israel and 
thanked me for the United States being their friend.
  The nod factor happened to me on the previous Sunday when I spoke to 
the Association of County Commissioners in Savannah, GA. When I stood 
up for that speech, it was supposed to be about local government, 
trade, zoning, and land use. Instead, I opened up by saying: I want 
everybody in the audience to know whether you have an interest or not 
in the Iranian nuclear deal that is being negotiated by the President, 
I, as your Senator, promise that there will be no deal unless there is 
congressional oversight, congressional review, and a congressional 
vote. The nods went all through the audience.
  There were farmers and county commissioners from all over the State. 
This is an issue you would think would be removed from them, but it is 
not. For the people of Georgia this is a primary issue for our country 
and our security, and it is so for a very good reason. The Iranians 
have not proven to be very trustworthy with their negotiations in the 
  I thank Senator Cardin and Senator Corker for their agreement to put 
language in this bill that reports the sense of the Senate in terms of 
the value of the hostages that were held by the Iranian Government in 
1979 and 1980.
  A lot of people have forgotten what happened in 1979. In 1979, the 
Iranian troops jumped on the American Embassy in downtown Tehran. They 
captured 52 American diplomats, held them for 444 days, beat them, 
tortured them, and harassed them. They finally let them go shortly 
before the swearing in of Ronald Reagan as President of the United 
States. When they did, President Carter negotiated the Algerian 
Accords, which said that the Iranians would release these hostages but 
they would not be held accountable to pay those hostages any 
reparations. We negotiated away from them what almost every other 
hostage has ever received; and that is reparations from their captives.
  In the committee, I introduced sense of the Senate legislation that 
says the Iranians should pay and the sanctions money that was paid 
under the previous sanctions bill that is now in place should be used 
to pay those hostages and their families and the survivors. Forty-four 
of them are left. Some have committed suicide and some have died of 
natural causes. But all of them were tortured, beaten, and badly abused 
in 1979 and 1980. We owe it to those Americans to look out for them and 
to make sure they are compensated, and it should come from the money 
that would have gone to the Iranians that was taken in the penalties 
for doing business with Iran under the sanctions legislation.
  Senator Corker and Senator Cardin have done an outstanding job. They 
have crafted legislation that not only represents the best interest of 
the country of the United States but also the best interest of our 
people. I want everybody to understand one thing loud and clear. You 
can call it an Executive order, you can call it a treaty, you can call 
it a wink and nod. It is the single most important vote that any Member 
of this Senate is going to take in a long, long time because this one 
is for all the marbles.
  A nuclear-armed Iran is a danger not just to the Middle East but to 
the peace and security of the entire world. Giving the Senate and House 
oversight on this agreement is absolutely essential to the American 
people so they know that they have oversight. We are the eyes, we are 
the ears, and we are the conscience of the people we represent.
  I can tell you from the winking and nodding theory that I have, and 
from the tears that I saw shed by the people of Israel Sunday night, 
this treaty is important to the United States of America, it is 
important to the world, and it is important to see to it that the 
congressional review action takes place and this bill passes.
  I commend Senator Corker for his leadership, and I commend Senator 
Cardin and Senator Menendez, the previous ranking member, for the work 
they did to see to it that this happens.

                       Trade Promotion Authority

  Mr. President, the Senate Finance Committee met until about 11 p.m. 
last Thursday night. We passed TPA, trade promotion authority. Get 
this, the President of the United States has asked for it. The Senate 
Committee on Finance voted 20 to 6 to pass it, and it is coming to the 
Senate floor soon. It will promote trade and give the President the 
authority to negotiate trade deals. And the Senate has the authority to 
approve them up or down. It will send a signal to the rest of the world 
that we are open for business in America.
  When I first came to the Congress in 1999, one of my first votes was 
fast-track for President Clinton, a Democratic President. As I served 
in the House, I later voted for President Bush to have TPA. I will vote 
for TPA for President Obama because it is in America's best interest.
  Trade should not be, nor is it ever intended to be, a partisan issue. 
It is about the well-being and the jobs of the American people.
  A lot of us talk about managing expenses through cutting expenses and 
a lot of us talk about raising our revenue to pay for expenses. Raising 
prosperity for the American people is the best way to raise their 
revenue and raise their hope and opportunity. This bill does exactly 
that. Fast-track promotes American agriculture, American manufacturing, 
and American innovation.
  In 2007, I went to the nation of India with Mike Enzi and Lamar 
Alexander, two members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions 
Committee. We went to follow up on a book written by Tom Friedman 
called ``The World is Flat.'' It was all about the jobs that were being 
taken away from America by the Indian people because of the ability to 
use the computer, the change in time zones, and to fill American 
employment and put help desks overseas in India.
  A lot of people rose up against the jobs going to India, and they 
sent us over there to find what was happening. One of the things we did 
in India was visit Mr. Murthy, the president of Infosys. Infosys is the 
largest market cap from India on the NASDAQ in America. It is a 
tremendous success story. It is a high-tech engineering and technology 
  In the boardroom of Infosys, we asked this question: Mr. Murthy, the 
American people ask us, as Members of the Senate, why is it that all of 
our jobs are going to India? He answered very quickly. He said: Mr. 
Isakson, I will tell you this. When I started my company 20 years ago, 
I drove an Indian car, drank an Indian soft drink, and banked with the 
Bank of India. Today, I drink Coca-Cola, I drive a Ford, and I bank 
with the Bank of America.
  That is what doing business with the world does. It opens up 
opportunities. That is what trade promotion authority is going to do 
for America. It will open up opportunities for the American people. It 
will expand trade and opportunity. It will empower us through jobs and 
  We should make sure that trade never becomes a partisan issue, and 
that when we vote, we have a bipartisan vote to pass trade promotion 
authority for the President and for the best interest of our people.
  We should remember this. We should never choose isolation over 
innovation. Trade promotion is innovation. We should never fear 
competition. We should always see that competition is rewarded by hard 
work, and we should never cower in fear of those who compete with us. 
We should always be the leader we have always been in terms of American 
technology, ingenuity, and trade.

[[Page S2461]]

  Trade promotion authority is good for America, good for the world, 
good for this country, good for the economy of the United States, and 
good for middle-class America. It promotes manufacturing and jobs 
around this country.
  Lastly, there are those who fear it might prompt immigration 
increases. This bill gives the Congress the authority to override any 
change in the law that is current in the United States made by the 
President in any trade deal. So immigration will not be expanded, and 
it will not be broadened. The President will be given no more 
authority, but instead, America will be going to the trade table, 
making deals, raising prosperity, not through higher taxes but through 
higher engagement, more jobs, and better work.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ayotte). The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I commend Senator Isakson for always 
playing such a constructive role. I know he played a big role on the 
TPA issue, which is, as he mentioned, very important. I know from a 
geopolitical balance standpoint, it is very, very important for us to 
be able to consummate the TPA arrangement.
  I also thank him for the constructive role he always plays on foreign 
relations. For a couple of year he was off the committee, and we missed 
him greatly. We are glad to have him back and very much appreciate his 
support of not only the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act but his 
constant and vigilant effort to ensure that people who have not been 
compensated properly end up being compensated properly.
  I look forward to the markup of his bill in the committee. I thank 
him for consistently and steadfastly pursuing this issue and, again, 
for the many constructive ways in which he works to cause this body to 
function in a productive manner.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                Amendment No. 1155 to amendment No. 1140

  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment and call up amendment No. 1155.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, reserving the right to object, is this 
the amendment that deals with the report date?
  Mr. BLUNT. It is.
  Mr. CARDIN. I have no objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Missouri [Mr. Blunt] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 1155 to amendment No. 1140.

  Mr. BLUNT. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To extend the requirement for annual Department of Defense 
                 reports on the military power of Iran)

       At the end, add the following:

                   THE MILITARY POWER OF IRAN.

       Section 1245(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act 
     for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-84; 123 Stat. 2542), as 
     amended by section 1277 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. 
     ``Buck'' McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
     Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291), is further amended by 
     striking ``December 31, 2016'' and inserting ``December 31, 

  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I am pleased to call up this amendment. 
This amendment extends what would now be a sunset on the Department of 
Defense annual report on the military power of Iran and adds another 10 
years to that annual reporting date. Currently, the law would end that 
annual report in December of 2016. This amendment would extend the 
reporting time until December 2026.
  I think this amendment sends a message to the American people that 
Congress understands the lengths that Iran's military is willing to go 
to promote instability around the world. Pentagon officials today 
reported that the United States is monitoring the seizure by Iran of a 
Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship which was reportedly moving through 
the Straits of Hormuz. Iranian patrol vessels fired warning shots 
across the bow of the boat.
  Just yesterday, it was reported by Politico that the commander of 
Iran's ground forces was of the opinion that America was behind the 
attacks on 
9/11. We currently see Iran's deadly influence in a negative way into 
other countries, including Yemen, Iraq, and other countries. I think we 
need to continue to monitor the military strength and the military 
capacity of Iran. This annual Department of Defense assessment of 
Iran's increasingly destabilizing military is possibly more important 
even now than it was when these reports started.
  Every year, the Department of Defense provides Congress with a review 
of Iran's military. There is no reason this report should expire at the 
end of 2016. This commonsense amendment extends the sunset on this 
annual report we have been having through December of 2026.
  I encourage a ``yes'' vote on this amendment.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I see the Senator from Pennsylvania, my 
old friend Mr. Toomey, standing up like he wants to offer something. 
There are a couple of us who want to have a colloquy for a few minutes, 
Senator Durbin, Senator Blumenthal and myself, on an issue involving 
veterans and veterans' financial assistance for school.
  I do not want to get in the way of Senator Toomey if he has something 
he wants to offer, just as long as it does not take forever. May I ask 
a question through the Presiding Officer? What do you think he has to 
offer and for how long?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. I would direct the question to the Senator 
from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I would assure the Presiding Officer, 
for the purpose of passing on to any interested Senators, that I, in 
fact, would not take forever. In fact, I think I can do this in--it 
probably will take 15 or 20 minutes.
  Mr. CARPER. I would just ask the Senator, if he could take closer to 
15, that would be great.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Madam President, I rise to address two issues this 
afternoon. The first is amendment No. 1190. I will be as quick as I can 
on this because I want to spend more time dealing with the Johnson 
amendment, which I also will address.
  Amendment No. 1190 arises because of the very unusual procedural 
circumstances we find ourselves in. As the Presiding Officer probably 
knows very well, for technical procedural reasons, the Senate has 
chosen to conduct a debate about the Corker-Cardin bill, the Iran 
Nuclear Agreement Review Act, on a House legislative vehicle that was 
sent over to us. But in order to do this, all of the language from the 
House bill gets stripped out and it goes away.
  That original House bill, H.R. 1191, was the Protecting Volunteer 
Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act. I want to talk a little bit 
about it. But here is my amendment. It is pretty simple. I just want to 
restore the language from that House-passed vehicle. It is pretty 
simple. I do not think it is controversial.
  Let me just sum up what this is about. This is a bill that was 
offered in the House by Congressman Lou Barletta from Pennsylvania. It 
is a bill that would protect volunteer firefighters from some 
unintended consequences of ObamaCare. More specifically, it exempts 
volunteer firefighters from counting toward the trigger for the 
employer mandate.
  I do not think it was ever intended that volunteer firefighters would 
be counted this way, but nonetheless the danger arises because of an 
IRS ruling.

[[Page S2462]]

So the IRS issued a guidance back in 2013 that suggested that volunteer 
firefighters would have to count any benefits they got as income.
  It raises the question of whether they would be counted toward the 
ObamaCare limit. They have gone back and forth. They have issued a 
ruling that says volunteer firefighters would not be counted toward 
triggering the number of employees that invokes ObamaCare, but that is 
just an administrative ruling at this point. It could change at any 
point in time.
  If it were to change, and if every volunteer fire department in 
America that had 50 or more volunteer firefighters had to be deemed to 
be an employer requiring full ObamaCare coverage, I dare say it would 
put out of business virtually every volunteer fire department in 
America because none of these volunteer fire departments have the kind 
of money it would take to go out and buy health care for those 
volunteer firefighters, nor was ObamaCare ever intended to cover these 
  This would be a huge problem, particularly in Pennsylvania where we 
have 2,400 volunteer fire departments, more than any other State in the 
Union, and we have over 50,000 volunteers in Pennsylvania alone, but 
there are over 750,000 nationally. So, as I said, the IRS did give us a 
ruling that, for now, they will not deem volunteer firefighters to be 
employees for the purpose of triggering ObamaCare mandates.
  But I would like--and I am not the only one who would like to have 
this codified in law so this danger goes away so volunteer fire 
departments can continue to thrive. This passed the House unanimously. 
There is bipartisan support in the Senate.
  I thank the chairman of the committee and the ranking member. My 
understanding is there is no opposition from either of them to this 
amendment, which is very straightforward.
  I would be delighted with a voice vote when the time is appropriate 
for that. I would be very grateful. I have said my piece about the 
volunteer firefighters, but I do think it is a great opportunity to get 
this taken care of.

                           Amendment No. 1150

  What I would like to address, though, is the incredibly important 
debate that we are having now about the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review 
Act. Now, let me state very clearly, I think the underlying bill that 
Senators Corker and Cardin have produced is a very important good-faith 
effort to give Congress some say in something Congress absolutely 
should have a say in.
  But I do think there is an underlying problem with the bill. The 
underlying problem with the bill is that the reality is, at the end of 
the day, an agreement announced by the President with Iran, should that 
come to pass, could be opposed by a majority of Senators--it could be 
opposed by a big majority of Senators and it would still go into 
effect, despite the provisions in this underlying bill.
  Specifically, why I say that is, in the first place, in order to 
prevent the congressionally authorized sanctions from being waived, we 
would need to pass a resolution of disapproval. That takes 60 votes in 
the Senate. So any 41 Senators could prevent that from taking place and 
then the deal goes forward, the sanctions get lifted.
  If we have a supermajority, more than 60, and we could pass this 
legislation and send to it the President, he could veto it. Then it 
would take 67 votes to override the President's veto. So the math is 
pretty clear. Any 34 Senators in support of the agreement could permit 
the agreement to go ahead, while 66 Senators could oppose the agreement 
and yet it would take place. It seems to me that this turns an 
important part of the Constitution on its head, and that is article II, 
section 2 that says: The President ``shall have Power, by and with the 
Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds 
of the Senators present concur.''
  So, in my view, this certainly ought to be deemed to be a treaty 
because it rises to that level of importance. A treaty, generally 
defined, is an agreement through negotiations signed by nations. I 
think that is what we are talking about here. Certainly something of 
this enormous importance as arguably the most dangerous regime in the 
world on a path that might very well enable them to obtain the most 
dangerous weapon in the world, it is hard to imagine things that are 
much more important than that.
  So I think it certainly ought to rise to the level of a treaty. We 
routinely treat matters of much lesser import as treaties. This is not 
just sort of an abstract, theoretical question of Presidential 
authority. There are very specific, very real consequences. It is my 
view that we are on a path toward a very bad, very dangerous deal. The 
only way I can think of that we change the path we are on is if there 
is a plausible, credible possibility for Congress to stop this, which 
would then cause these negotiations to change their course, which is 
what I think has to happen to avoid a very dangerous outcome.
  Let me be clear. My goal is not to kill any deal, my goal is to get a 
good deal, one that provides for the security and safety our country 
  I do not think that is the direction we are on right now. Let me 
explain a few of the reasons why. I guess the simple summary was very 
aptly put by the Prime Minister of Israel when he spoke to the joint 
session of Congress and he said: The problem with this deal is that it 
would not block Iran's path to a bomb, it paves it. That is exactly 
what I am concerned about, ultimately.
  Let me explain why I am concerned about that. I see three big 
categories of reasons; first, the administration has already made too 
many concessions; second, the Iranian regime is a regime we cannot 
trust; third, while the administration says don't worry, you don't need 
to trust them because we can verify and enforce this agreement and, 
boy, if they step out of line, we will snap those sanctions back in a 
heartbeat, that is a fantasy. I do not see that working. Let me explain 
these three categories.
  With respect to the concessions, first, we ought to be concerned, I 
think, about the concessions that were made before the negotiations 
even began--the concessions that we wouldn't even address, the ongoing 
ballistic missile program that the Iranians continued to pursue and 
make ever more sophisticated.
  We wouldn't address their active, ongoing support for terrorist 
organizations throughout the Middle East and around the world. That 
wouldn't be on the table.
  We wouldn't address their open declarations that they want to wipe 
Israel off of planet Earth.
  These things were permitted just to be set aside. That is a very 
major round of concessions before we ever got to the table.
  My next concern is the way the administration has been moving the 
goalpost throughout these discussions. The initial goal stated by the 
President in the fall of 2013 was to ensure that Iran would not have a 
nuclear bomb. That was the right goal. The only problem is that is not 
the goal anymore.
  Now the goal is, according to the administration, that we would have 
about 12 month's notice if the Iranians decide to develop and deploy 
nuclear weapons. That is a huge, huge concession, and, I think, a very 
dangerous one.
  Finally--and maybe the most disturbing concession--it seems to me 
that the framework of this deal, as it has been described by the 
administration, allows Iran to retain a nuclear infrastructure--
actually, an industrial-scale nuclear infrastructure, with the 
underground facility at Fordow and the plutonium reactor Arak--
thousands of centrifuges for a country that doesn't need a single 
  If their intended purpose really is just to have peaceful nuclear 
energy, they don't need a single centrifuge. They can buy enriched 
uranium. They don't need to have the domestic capability of enriching 
centrifuges. But it has already been conceded that they will have 
  None of this, by the way, is going to be destroyed. Anything that is 
deactivated is locked away, but it is still there.
  Frankly, I am worried about the next round of concessions. If you 
listened, as I have, to the way the administration has described the 
framework of this agreement, and then you listened to how the Iranians 
have described it, there are some huge divergencies there. For 
instance, with respect to the sanctions, the administration has said 
that the sanctions would be lifted gradually, only as and when the 
Iranians comply with the terms of agreement.

[[Page S2463]]

  The Iranians have said: Absolutely not. The sanctions get lifted 
immediately upon execution of the agreement.
  And on inspections, this essential part of the enforcement mechanism, 
the administration has said: We will have the ability to inspect 
anytime, anywhere.
  The Iranians have said: No, you won't. You will only do inspections 
by permission, and military sites are off limits all together.
  I think this is a very disturbing range of concessions that have 
already been made, and the deal is not finished yet.
  The second point I make is that we can't trust this regime. I just 
think that is abundantly obvious. I think it is very clear that they 
have not reached the decision as a nation that they want to abandon 
their quest for a nuclear weapon. I don't think they have.
  And, if you look at their behavior, they have been killing Americans 
since 1979, including nearly 1,500 U.S. soldiers in Iraq with the 
sophisticated IEDs they make.
  Iran is the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism. They are 
promoting radical Islam in many places in the Middle East. They 
recently were plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador by a bomb 
planted in a DC restaurant.
  They have repeatedly declared their intention to wipe Israel off the 
map, and they have a history of cheating on agreements and violating 
U.N. resolutions. Why do we think this time would be different?
  Well, as I said, the administration says: Don't worry. You don't have 
to trust. We will have verification, enforcement, and snapback 
  Well, I don't think that is realistic at all. But it is not only my 
view. Henry Kissinger and George Shultz wrote, I thought, a very 
important essay about this. They mention, among other things, the 
difficulty we are probably going to have in even discovering that 
cheating is going on. I quote from the Kissinger-Shultz article. They 
say: ``In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience 
in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to 
  Not only that, it looks like we are, in a way, subbing out the 
endorsement to the U.N.--populated, I might remind my colleagues, by 
countries that are often not terribly friendly to the United States. 
There we will have the challenge of proving violations that we do 
discover, proving that they are, in fact, violations. Again, Kissinger 
and Shultz point out that when cheating or a breakout occurs, it is 
unlikely to be a ``clear-cut event.'' Rather, it is likely to be ``the 
gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions.''
  So we discover these ambiguous evasions, and what do we do? We have 
to go to the U.N. and convince them. I suspect the Iranians will deny 
them. And how long will this process go on while this is adjudicated 
and while the Iranians remain in violation? And what are our chances 
that we will eventually convince the people we need to convince at the 
U.N. that we are right and they are wrong?
  But even if we are successful in all of this, the administration 
says: Well, that is when we will just snap the sanctions right back in 
  How can that even be a serious notion when the sanctions regime is 
crumbling right now? I mean, it is already crumbling. The Russians are 
selling air defense systems now to the Iranians.
  Why is the President so reluctant to have Congress have a role in 
this, in any case? If the President can make the case that America will 
be more secure as a result of this agreement, he should be able to 
convince the American public and the Senate, get the votes, and then he 
would have a much more enduring agreement.
  A treaty is binding indefinitely, and it would have the approval of 
Congress. It wouldn't have the temporary nature of the executive 
  I think it is our responsibility that we have to uphold the 
Constitution. It is our responsibility that we have to maximize the 
safety of the American people to the extent we can. So I hope my 
colleagues will support the Johnson amendment, which will simply deem 
this agreement to be a treaty and require the two-thirds vote for 
ratification that a treaty requires.
  Mr. CORKER. Madam President, if I could respond, just briefly, I know 
there are speakers who would like to speak.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I thank the Senator for his amendment. 
My sense is that over the course this debate, there will be a pathway 
  Secondly, I thank him for cosponsoring the legislation that is before 
  As to deeming it a treaty, I wish to point out that the Senator has 
been in the Senate almost 6 years, which leads me to believe that at on 
at least three occasions, the Senator has already voted to give the 
President unilateral ability to implement this by a national security 
waiver. That is why this now is an executive agreement. And I think 
everyone here knows that what the President plans to do is to take what 
Senator Toomey and others have granted to him--a national security 
waiver--and go directly to the U.N. Security Council and, therefore--as 
a matter of fact, if we had not granted that security waiver, it would 
take a majority of people here to lift that. However, in putting these 
sanctions in place, all of us who put these four tranches of sanctions 
in place since 2000 have granted the President a national security 
  In a letter in response to me, the Chief of Staff made it clear that 
they plan to go straight to the U.N. Security Council with this waiver 
in hand. They plan to waive these sanctions ad infinitum way down the 
road. Secretary Kerry has testified to us that maybe 5 years down the 
road, after the sanctions regime has totally dissipated, we would have 
the ability to vote. So my sense is that I agree with the sentiment 
that is being laid out.
  I just wish to say again, if the Johnson amendment were to pass, 
ultimately this bill would not pass. Let me just say there would be no 
limitation on the President's use of waivers to suspend sanctions that 
we put in place, which brought them to the table, and no requirement 
that Congress receive the deal at all--never mind the classified 
annexes that go with it--no review period for Congress to seal the deal 
and vote before it is implemented, no requirement that the President 
certify Iran is complying, no mechanism for Congress to rapidly 
reimpose sanctions, and no reporting on Iran support for terrorism, 
ballistic missile development, and human rights violations.
  So my sentiment is with the Senator. I hope his amendment will very 
soon become law, and I appreciate his diligence there.
  I think he understands that this body, in putting the sanctions in 
place, gave the President the ability to do this unilaterally. What 
this bill does is to take back some of that authority. I hope we will 
be able to do that collectively.
  I appreciate the ranking member's efforts in this regard.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant majority leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I come to the floor today to join 
Senators Carper and Blumenthal on a subject we would like to speak to 
by way of colloquy, without objection by my colleagues.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

        For-Profit Colleges and Our Veterans and Servicemembers

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, Senator Carper, Senator Blumenthal, and 
I have come to the floor to discuss a terrible loophole in Federal law. 
It is the Federal 90-10 rule that limits the amount of Department of 
Education title IV dollars for for-profit colleges. They can receive 90 
percent of their revenue from the title IV. The intent was to make sure 
for-profit colleges were not totally reliant on Federal taxpayers for 
operations and that they could survive without taxpayer dollars.
  Well, I think 90 percent is way too high to accomplish that goal. 
What is more, the law doesn't count non-title IV Federal programs as 
revenue when they calculate the 90 percent. The Department of Veterans 
Affairs Post-9/11 GI bill and Department of Defense tuition assistance 
and MyCAA dollars are some of the biggest examples of Federal revenue 
not counted in the 90 percent calculation.

[[Page S2464]]

  It means that some for-profit colleges get vastly more than 90 
percent from the Federal Government. These are supposed to be private 
institutions in the private sector? No way. If they were standing alone 
as an industry, the for-profit colleges and universities would be the 
ninth largest Federal agency in Washington. They get that much money.
  Who are some of these schools that get more than 90 percent of their 
revenue from federal taxpayers? Well, names you might have heard: 
Everest College in Newport News, VA; Everest College in Portland, OR; 
Heald College campuses in Fresno, San Francisco, and Stockton, CA. If 
the names sound familiar, it is because they are part of the now 
bankrupt and out-of-business Corinthian Colleges system that defrauded 
students, lied to the Federal Government, and raked in $1.4 billion 
annually in title IV dollars and another $186 million from GI bill 
  Ashford University in Clinton, IA, is another notorious story of a 
for-profit school that received more than 90 percent of their revenue 
from Federal dollars when the Department of Defense and VA funds are 
included. I know that one very well.
  A past Bloomberg news article really demonstrated the depths these 
companies will sink to in order to ensnare or enroll veterans and 
servicemembers who qualify for Federal benefits.
  James Long was reported to have suffered a brain injury when 
artillery shells hit his humvee in Iraq. The Ashford recruiter came to 
a barracks for wounded marines at Camp Lejeune while Long was 
recovering from his brain injury and pitched to him to go to Ashford 
University, this for-profit school. Their parent company, Bridgepoint 
Education, is under investigation by at least three State attorneys 
  I could go through the list, but I will yield the floor for my friend 
from the State of Delaware, Senator Carper, to say a few words as well.
  Westwood College, based out of Colorado, in my State of Illinois, is 
under investigation by the Illinois attorney general. I have been 
contacted by their students, including veterans, who have been lured 
into their worthless degree programs and use up their GI bills as a 
result of it.
  There are many other schools included on this list of schools that 
receive more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal taxpayers. 
Vatterott College and Coyne College are in my home State. There are 
schools owned by Apollo, the largest for-profit college and university 
in the United States, which is currently under investigation by two 
State attorneys general.
  Career Education Corporation--which is another notorious for-profit 
school--is under investigation by 17 different State attorneys general. 
And there are schools owned by Kaplan, which used to be owned by the 
Washington Post, which now is on its own, and is under investigation by 
three different States attorneys general.
  Why do we allow this to happen? These schools are targeting our 
veterans and our servicemembers and members of their family.
  I was listening to Pandora the other day and I heard American 
Military University advertising. Well, they know it is Washington, DC. 
There are a lot of people in uniform in Washington, DC.
  The American Military University is not part of any official part of 
our military. They just picked up the name. It is a for-profit school 
raising questions, again, about whether they are providing our veterans 
and servicemembers with any value for their GI benefits.
  So I have joined with a number of my colleagues, Senator Carper, and 
18 other colleagues, in writing to the Secretary of the Department of 
Education to publish its annual 90-10 data with all the Federal 
education benefits, including the Department of Defense and VA 
  According to documents obtained by the Center for Investigative 
Reporting, the Department of Education has produced data internally. So 
it is there, and it is time that it be shared with the public.
  I thank Senator Carper. Many people have heard me come to the floor 
and talk about for-profit colleges and universities and probably think: 
Well, there goes Durbin again.
  Well, this time I am joined by a couple of my outstanding colleagues, 
and one of them is the Senator from Delaware, who helped me to bring 
together 20 Senators to sign this letter.
  I yield to Senator Carper.
  Mr. CARPER. I thank the Senator from Illinois for yielding.
  Madam President, I don't know about your family, but my dad and his 
brother served in World War II. They were both combat veterans, one in 
the Navy and one in the Army. On my mom's side of the family, two of 
her brothers ended up serving in the Navy. One was killed in a kamikaze 
attack on an aircraft carrier out in the Pacific. He never had a chance 
to participate in the GI bill, but my dad did. Later, in the Korean 
war, my uncle Ed, who married my mom's sister, had a chance to 
participate in the GI bill. It was a great benefit. It is one of the 
things--when we look back in time, we know this is one of the wonderful 
things that happened in our country. It helped lift us up and prepare a 
workforce to make us a preeminent nation in the second half of the 20th 

  But as it turned out, as the benefits were offered and taken 
advantage of by veterans, scam artists emerged on the heels of World 
War II. The same thing happened again after the Korean war. It seems as 
if every time we have renewed and extended the GI bill for a new 
generation of veterans, the same thing has happened.
  I served on Active Duty from 1968 to 1973 in the Vietnam war--as a 
naval flight officer--served 5 years on Active and another 18 years 
beyond that as a P-3 aircraft mission commander, a retired Navy 
captain. I had a chance to get a master's degree near the end of the 
Vietnam war, and I moved from California to Delaware and got an MBA on 
the GI bill. I think we got $250 a month.
  The GI bill today--men and women who have served 3 years of Active 
Duty, including some time in Iraq or Afghanistan, get tuition free to 
pretty much any college or university--public--in their State. They get 
tuition assistance. They not only get tuition, they get book fees, and 
if they need tutoring, they get that free. They also get about a 
$1,500-a-month housing allowance. Vietnam veterans got 250 bucks a 
month. This is a lucrative GI benefit. And if the GI doesn't use it 
today, their spouse can use it. If their spouse doesn't use it, it is 
transferrable to their dependent children. It is a great benefit.
  Not surprisingly, just as scam artists emerged at the end of World 
War II, at the end of the Korean war, and at other times, they have 
emerged again this time as well. Some of them are private colleges; 
some of them are not. Some of the private colleges actually do a good 
job, but too many of them do not. They are in this for money. They see 
a rich benefit, and one of their goals is to try to make sure they cash 
in. In some cases, it is at the expense of the veteran and the 
  Congress put in place in I want to say 1992 a rule that said we want 
to combat this by injecting some market forces. So since the beginning 
of 1992, no university, college, whatever, could get more than 85 
percent of their revenues from the Federal Government--no more than 85 
percent from the Federal Government. We changed that in 1998 and said 
that no college or university--private, for profit, whatever--could get 
more than 90 percent of their revenues from the Federal Government. 
They had to raise 10 percent from other sources, such as people who 
paid their own money or who got private loans or whatever to go to 
  Somewhere along the line, though, we changed the rules to say that 90 
percent did not include the GI bill, that 90 percent did not include 
something called tuition assistance for people on Active Duty. So 90 
percent today is not a full picture. It is student loans and it is Pell 
grants. It is not the GI bill. It is not tuition assistance from people 
on Active Duty. So if we put it all together, we find out that today 
there are over 100 colleges and universities--again, almost all 
private--that are getting way more than 90 percent of their revenue 
from the Federal Government. I don't think that is a good thing. It is 
not a healthy thing. What was meant to be an approach that provided 
some market correction doesn't work anymore.
  For years, Senator Durbin and I have introduced legislation designed 
to restore the integrity of the original 85-15

[[Page S2465]]

rule or the 90-10 rule, which says, look, if you are a college or 
university, if you are a for-profit, private, public, the 90 percent 
should be included all in. It is college loans, it is student loans, it 
is Pell grants, it is the GI bill, it is tuition assistance--the whole 
deal. If you are a college or university, you can get up to 90 percent 
of your revenues from those sources but not 100 percent--as too many of 
them are doing today.
  We have talked about Corinthian, which has gone down. Corinthian has 
cost taxpayers probably billions of dollars. A lot of men and women who 
risked their lives and served our country in sometimes very dangerous 
situations have now gotten out of the military and they have literally 
been put at risk again. They have been put in a position where they 
have squandered their GI bill benefits.
  We ask sometimes why there is bad morale in some cases, low morale, 
why some Veterans take their own lives. Well, sometimes it is because 
they get sucked into these scams. Sometimes that is what happens.
  We can fix this. It is the right thing to do for our veterans. It is 
the right thing to do for our taxpayers.
  I know Senator Blumenthal is here. He is also a distinguished veteran 
and the father of a distinguished veteran, and I am happy to yield to 
  (Mr. GARDNER assumed the Chair.)
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I thank Senator Carper and Senator 
Durbin, two of our most distinguished colleagues who have fought 
ceaselessly for the interests of students and veterans. I am very proud 
to be here with them today. I do have a very personal interest as the 
dad of a veteran and also of a currently serving young man whom I hope 
will be a veteran one day.
  Nothing is more important than this issue of making sure we keep 
faith with our veterans and protect them because the phenomena we have 
described today often create incentives for schools to lure veterans 
into education deals, and they are often education deals that fail 
them, that don't make sense for them, that don't give them the 
education and the qualifications they think they are going to receive. 
So very often they are failed by these programs, and they fail to 
complete their courses and leave with mountains of debt but no degree.
  These kinds of abuses that bring us here today involve some for-
profit schools in effect scamming our Nation's veterans.
  We all know that for-profit schools are prohibited from receiving 
more than 90 percent of their total revenue from Federal student aid, 
but, as my colleagues have so well stated, the Department of Defense 
and Veterans' Administration education benefits are not counted toward 
that 90 percent. That loophole causes the for-profits to target those 
servicemembers and veterans, often with predatory marketing practices 
that lure them into those deals that make no sense for them.
  We need to change that law. We need to change the law so that DOD and 
VA benefits count under the 90-percent cap on Federal revenue. That is 
really our ultimate goal.
  I thank the President for including such a provision in his budget 
request for fiscal year 2016. I look forward to working with my 
colleagues and with the President in moving that legislative effort 
  In the meantime, we need a more accurate picture of this problem 
because when it comes to for-profit schools and veterans, there are 
some things we definitely need to know and our veterans need to know.
  Here is what we do know. We know there are a large number of for-
profit schools that would be in violation of the 90-10 rule if we made 
this change today. In fact, a 2013 Department of Education analysis 
identified 133 for-profit schools that would be in violation. We also 
know that the current loophole in that 90-10 rule creates those 
incentives for certain institutions to conduct aggressive, relentless, 
often predatory recruitment of veterans.
  What we lack and what we need is comprehensive, complete information 
on the exact scope of the problem. That part should be easy. The 
Department of Education already collects the information we are asking 
them to publish. It is a simple task of publishing how much revenue 
schools receive from all Federal education programs, including the DOD 
and the VA. That would bring accuracy and transparency to the debate 
over the 90-10 rule. Disclosure and transparency are part of the 
battle. Most importantly, this information and these statistics would 
provide veterans themselves and servicemembers better data and 
information to make informed choices about higher education.
  Let me briefly mention another tool that I think is very important 
because it encourages veterans to make informed higher education 
choices, and that is the VA's GI bill comparison tool. I am glad--and I 
thank Secretary McDonald--the VA has launched this vitally important 
resource for veterans in response to the President's Executive order, 
which established principles of excellence for schools that serve 
veterans. I also think Secretary McDonald can take steps to improve 
this tool, specifically by adding a risk index that would highlight 
unscrupulous bad actors in the industry.
  As our Nation's veterans decide where to spend their taxpayer-funded 
education benefits--their money but taxpayer funded--they deserve to 
know if the school they are considering is under investigation for 
deceptive practices, what its record is on this score, what its 
graduates do, what the value is of education and courses there. They 
deserve to know if the school they are considering has been placed on 
heightened cash monitoring status, a specific status from the 
Department of Education. They deserve to have this information. It is 
vital not only to them but to their smart use of taxpayer dollars.
  Let me finish by saying that for-profit schools have been problematic 
in many ways. The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, 
on which I served during my first 2 years, conducted an investigation. 
I was very proud to be a part of the effort to reform for-profit 
schools. Our former colleague Tom Harkin worked very hard on this 
  We should not tar every for-profit school with too broad a brush. We 
should note improvements that have been made. This problem is discrete, 
identifiable, critically important, and I thank my colleagues for 
giving me the opportunity to talk about it and work with them on it.
  Mr. DURBIN. I thank Senator Blumenthal and Senator Carper, and I also 
thank Senator Lee, who has waited patiently for the last 15 minutes or 
so. I will conclude my part of this by first saying that I thank my 
colleagues for joining me.
  If I said we were dealing with an industry--the for-profit colleges 
and universities--that has 10 percent of the high school graduates in 
America attending and 44 percent of all the student loan defaults, it 
might raise some question. If I said that at least 90 percent of the 
revenue these for-profit colleges and universities receive is often 
from the Federal Treasury, a Federal subsidy--sometimes more than 90 
percent, which is the point we are making here--and if I said that many 
of these schools are literally exploiting our veterans and 
servicemembers, I think that is a clarion call for Members of Congress 
to stand up and first do something to protect the men and women in 
uniform and the veterans and second to make sure taxpayers' dollars are 
well spent.
  This Corinthian College collapse is an indication of how we can lose 
$1.4 billion a year for a worthless college system, for-profit college 
  If I said at the end of the day that I don't know what the term 
``crony capitalism'' means--I will go and look it up after this speech, 
but it looks to me as if they are calling themselves private schools. 
They might as well be Federal agencies and, as such, should be held 
  I thank my colleagues for joining me.
  Mr. CARPER. If I can add just one thing, Mr. President, 5 years ago, 
6 years ago, our Federal budget deficit hit $1.4 trillion. It has come 
down since, bit by bit. Now it is down by about two-thirds. But it is 
still a lot--like $400 billion or so. That is a lot of money.
  I think the key to further reducing deficits is threefold: No. 1, tax 
reform that broadens the base and lowers the corporate rates so we are 
competitive with the rest of the world but also generates some revenues 
for deficit reduction.

[[Page S2466]]

  No. 2, entitlement reform that saves money and saves programs for our 
children and grandchildren and doesn't savage old people or poor 
  No. 3, look at everything we do in the Federal Government and say: 
How do we get a better result with less money? This is one of those 
things we need to look at and put under a microscope.
  Again, are all for-profit schools bad? No, they are not all bad. Some 
do a very good job. But we have millions of jobs out here in this 
country waiting to be filled. We have a lot of people who would like to 
have a job and don't have the skills. We are spending a ton of money 
through the GI bill and tuition assistance, and we need to better 
ensure that the folks--particularly who are veterans--are getting their 
money's worth and that we are getting our money's worth and that we are 
getting the workforce we need to fill up those millions of jobs.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I would add one last note. My 
colleague Senator Durbin has very appropriately mentioned the 
Corinthian debacle. We should note that this debacle is not an innocent 
failure. It is not a victimless debacle. Behind that staggering number 
of $1.2 billion are thousands of real people with huge debt and no 
value in the courses they have taken in terms of a degree that can give 
them marketable qualifications. There are real-life stories of huge 
debt, no degrees, and people who are tragically trapped in financial 
situations really beyond their own fault because of this situation.
  So that, too, is a phenomenon we need to keep in mind when we talk 
about this 90-10 rule. Those veterans who are failed, who are marketed 
to, who are lured into this system are often left in tragic situations 
that they don't deserve and that they wouldn't have undertaken if they 
had been well-informed, which is what ultimately this Nation owes them.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendments and call up amendments Nos. 1141, 1145, and 1148 on 
behalf of Senator Rubio.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, Senator Corker and I have been working 
very hard to get amendments considered in a very orderly way. We have 
three amendments that are pending. We are attempting to get to those 
amendments in a way that we can have votes. We do not want a lot of 
amendments pending while we are debating certain amendments. For that 
reason, I must object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I come to speak on the legislation 
before the Senate, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and I 
specifically want to create a focus for our colleagues on the essential 
question before the Senate. The essential question before the Senate 
is, Does the Senate want to have a role in opining upon any agreement 
that may be concluded between the United States and the P5+1 and Iran? 
Right now, there is no clear mechanism for the Senate and the Congress 
of the United States to have a say about that potential final 
  The reality is that an Iran that does not have nuclear weapons 
capability is an Iran that at the end of the day enures to a status in 
which the national security of the United States is better preserved 
and in which our ally the State of Israel's security is better 
preserved. But, in fact, an Iran that does have nuclear weapons 
capability is a national security threat to the United States and to 
the State of Israel, our ally, which clearly would face an existential 
  The problem is that many of us, myself included--personally, I abhor 
the Iranian regime. I abhor its human rights abuses. I abhor its 
promotion of terrorism in the world. I abhor that they are holding U.S. 
citizens hostage and so much more. But as much as I abhor all of that 
reality, what I really have a concern about is the Senate not having a 
say over any final agreement, particularly when I have some serious 
reservations about where this framework agreement to this date takes 
us; the questions of the differences in views between the P5+1 and Iran 
about what the framework agreement says and doesn't say; the reality, 
it seems to me from what I read, that Iran can advance in its research 
and development in a way that ultimately allows them to have, for 
example, centrifuges that can spin more efficiently, more quickly, and 
therefore reduce the breakout time; my concern about the question of 
what happens after 10 years--are we, in essence, relegated to a 
nuclear-armed Iran; my concern about what I understood was a threshold 
redline issue in which the International Atomic Energy Administration 
was going to have anytime, anyplace, anywhere inspections based upon 
any agreement; and many other elements.
  But all of those concerns--and we will see whether a final agreement, 
if there is a final agreement, ultimately addresses those concerns--
will be for naught in terms of having a way to express my concerns if, 
in fact, there is no process that ultimately creates the potential for 
a judgment on any final agreement and an action in response to that 
judgment and a continuing oversight obligation and opportunity for the 
  So while I abhor all of the things on which many of my colleagues 
offer amendments, this is not necessarily the only Iran piece of 
legislation we have to consider. But if we want to have a say on the 
fundamental question of any potential agreement, then don't load up 
this legislation that came out of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee unanimously. And God knows we don't get too many unanimous 
votes in this Chamber, much less in committees. And the good work of 
Senator Corker as the chairman and the work of Senator Cardin in the 
negotiations and, I would like to believe, many of us who were on this 
legislation before we got to this point and some of us who have been 
following Iran since my days in the House of Representatives--
ultimately, that was the type of structured process that creates a say 
for the Senate and for the Congress in a meaningful way.
  Could we seek other legislation to deal with Iran's terrorism? The 
answer is yes, even though this legislation has reporting requirements 
to ensure that we have senses of that and, most importantly, doesn't 
repeal any other sanctions that may be related to terrorism, which was 
my original concern when we had language as it related to the question 
of terrorism.
  Do we have the opportunity to look at Iran's missile capacity and 
program and what that means to the national security of the United 
States and our allies and the State of Israel? Yes.
  Do we have the opportunity to continue to express ourselves about 
Iran's use of its resources not for its people but to promote terrorism 
in the world? Yes.
  Does it all have to be in this legislation? No. Because what we are 
going to do is sink the legislation, and there will be no say, there 
will be no opportunity to deal with any potential final agreement.
  As the author, along with others, of the sanctions regime that 
brought Iran to the table in the first place to discuss it--I always 
find it interesting because I hear the administration at times talk in 
two ways about the sanctions regime: Either the sanctions regime cannot 
be enhanced because to do so would break the coalition, and by the same 
token--and don't expect that Iran would respond to any further 
sanctions--by the same token, I hear that the reason Iran is at the 
negotiating table and wants to strike a deal as an expression of their 
sincerity is because of the sanctions. So you can't have it both ways.
  By the way, I have often heard that any enhancing of the sanctions 
regime would ultimately lead to a breaking of the coalition. I heard 
that many times before, and that sanctions regime didn't create that.

[[Page S2467]]

  But I am willing to forgo enhanced sanctions at this time to get the 
fundamental opportunity of the Senate having a say on any final 
agreement because that is the threshold question--whether we will have 
a say on the most important nuclear nonproliferation national security 
issue, I would say, of our time.
  So I hope my colleagues, as earnest as I believe they are in some of 
their amendments, understand that at the end of the day, pursuit of 
such an amendment, however worthy it might be, would sink the very 
opportunity to have a law in place that would give us a process and a 
say, because there is none right now.
  So whether you want to change this to a treaty, which has all types 
of other legal consequences to it far beyond--I don't think people have 
thought that through because far beyond, a treaty has legal 
requirements on both sides or multiple sides when you enter into a 
treaty. I don't know that I want Iran having that legal precedent or 
ability to use against the United States at any given time if things 
don't go the way we want them to. I don't know that, in fact, I want to 
have a set of circumstances in which Iran can ultimately rear its ugly 
head by the use of our own very same purposes in legislation, which I 
think people haven't thought about fully, the unintended consequence of 
some of their legitimate goals, haven't thought it fully through. But 
most of all, I don't think they have thought about the consequences of 
the Senate not having a say on any final agreement. That, to me, is 
  So I hope very much that as our colleagues are considering this--I am 
sure the chairman and the ranking member will try to work, when 
appropriate, with individual Members who ultimately may have language 
that doesn't strike at the heart of the legislation, that may be able 
to be accommodated, that may enhance it. By the same token, we have to 
decide whether we want a political victory or a national security 
  If we want a national security victory, then we will try to keep the 
legislation that came out on a unanimous bipartisan version from the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee pretty much intact. If we want a 
political victory to say that someone is stronger than someone else or 
one group is stronger than someone else about national security or 
about our support of the State of Israel--for which I take a backseat 
to no one in this Chamber--then we can have that opportunity, but that 
will mean not having a final say on any agreement, and that, I think, 
would be of historical proportion a huge mistake.
  So I look forward to the debate that continues. I hope we can keep a 
measured look. I am happy to work with other colleagues who want to 
further advance issues which I think are legitimate as it relates to 
Iran but not necessarily as it relates to the determinative factor as 
to whether we will have a say on any potential final agreement as it 
relates to a nuclear agreement with Iran. I think that is paramount. I 
hope we don't lose sight of it. I hope we can have the same strong, 
incredibly bipartisan votes that we have had on Iran because that sends 
a clear message to our allies as to our expectations, it sends a clear 
message to Iran of what we will expect and the standard that we will 
hold them up to. Anything short of that will only create the 
opportunity for those who have a different vision about what we seek to 
achieve to try to accomplish it. I do not think we want that. I do not 
think that is anybody's intention. I do not judge anyone in terms of 
their intent. I only ask to think about the consequences to our greater 

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I would like to ask unanimous consent in a 
  First, I would like to thank the distinguished Senator from New 
Jersey, who has been as much as anybody in this entire congressional 
body, both House and Senate--actually he and Senator Kirk have been 
stalwarts on Iran. Without his efforts, we would not even be in a 
negotiation right now. I cannot thank him enough for his positive 
contributions, for his leadership as ranking member and chairman. I 
want to thank him.

                           Amendment No. 1150

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 6:10 p.m. 
today be equally divided in the usual form and that following the use 
or yielding back of that time, the Senate vote on the following 
amendment: Johnson amendment No. 1150; further, that there be no 
second-degree amendments in order to the amendment and that it require 
a 60-affirmative-vote threshold for adoption of the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, if I could follow up, I have been in 
extensive conversations with former Secretary of State Condoleezza 
Rice, who I know has tremendous respect on this side of the aisle. She 
sent out a release today in response to this amendment that is coming 
before us today that the proposed Iranian nuclear agreement is 
classically an executive agreement and does not need to be a treaty 
with the advice and consent of the Senate--this is our former Secretary 
of State under George W. Bush--but Congress should be able to opine, 
given the congressionally mandated sanctions would have to be lifted. I 
think everybody on our side of the aisle understands that with four 
tranches of sanctions that Congress put in place--we brought them to 
the table with Senator Menendez leading that effort, and in each of 
those cases, which is traditionally done, we gave a national security 
waiver. No one ever thought the President would use the national 
security waiver to kick the can down the road for years on the 
congressionally mandated sanctions without our approval. But everybody 
in this body who has been here in recent times participated in giving 
the President--if you voted for these sanctions and in some cases they 
were unanimous--the unilateral ability to waive the sanctions.
  If we pass this underlying bill, on which we now have 67 cosponsors, 
we are taking back that authority. But to try to deem this as a treaty 
is a losing effort. In essence, it will destroy our ability--it will 
destroy our ability to have any say-so, as the Senator just mentioned, 
in one of the biggest geopolitical events of our time.
  If this amendment were to pass, the outcome would be no limitation on 
the President's use of waivers to suspend the sanctions we put in 
place, none--no requirement that Congress receive the deal at all, 
never mind the classified annexes that go with it but which, by the 
way, the American people will never see--will never see, but on their 
behalf we would like to see--no review period for Congress to seal the 
deal and vote before it is implemented, no requirement that the 
President certify Iran is complying, no mechanism for Congress to 
rapidly reimpose sanctions, and no reporting on Iran's support for 
terrorism, ballistic missile development, and human rights violations.
  I just want to say to my friends, voting for this treaty is, in 
essence, saying that we are willing to throw what has been put together 
aside, even though we have 67 cosponsors. Look, I wish we had the 
ability to vote affirmatively, but we gave that away. Almost everybody 
in this body was a part of giving that national security waiver away.
  This is an executive agreement. Our former Secretary of State, whom 
we love and cherish, says this is an executive agreement. We can wish 
it was a treaty or we can try to deem it as a treaty, but the effect is 
we will have no role if we were to pass this amendment by Johnson, a 
friend of mine. We will have no role in this.
  I urge people to vote no. I know there will be debate between now and 
6:10. I appreciate the ranking member being here with me.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, first, I want to join Senator Corker in 
thanking Senator Menendez for his leadership on this issue--I said that 
on previous occasions on the floor--clearly, his leadership, working 
with Senator Corker and working with Senator Kaine, who developed the 
bill for the appropriate review for Congress. I wish to thank Senator 
Menendez very much for all of his hard work on this bill.
  I want to identify myself with the comments of Senator Corker in 
opposition to the Johnson amendment. But

[[Page S2468]]

let me give you one more reason. I respect the intent of those who 
support this amendment, but let me tell you what it means. It means 
that if this were, in fact, a treaty, we would be saying that we would 
be delegating to other entities the decision on whether to eliminate 
the sanction regime we in Congress imposed.
  I have listened to my colleagues, particularly on the Republican 
side, who say they do not want to delegate that authority, that 
Congress should keep its legislative authority.
  If you believe Congress should keep its legislative authority, that 
it is up to us to determine whether we are going to change or eliminate 
or modify the sanction regime, then you cannot be for a treaty because 
a treaty would give away that power. I do not think you really mean to 
do that, but that is the intent, if this were to be turned into a 
treaty, that we would be giving up our power.
  Secondly, I don't know how we are going to explain it to our 
colleagues in the House of Representatives. The Presiding Officer 
served in the House. I served in the House. Senator Menendez served in 
the House. The last time I checked, we imposed these sanctions because 
a bill passed both the Senate and the House, and now we are saying that 
the approval process is going to ignore the House of Representatives, 
solely going to be a matter for the U.S. Senate on a ratification of a 
treaty? That does not seem like a workable solution.
  My point is to concur in the observations of Senator Corker. This is 
clearly an amendment that if it were adopted would say we are not going 
to have an orderly review process for Congress to be able to weigh in. 
We are not going to be able to get the material to set up the logical 
review by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that we are going to 
lose all the benefits of this bipartisan bill if this amendment were to 
be approved.
  For all those reasons, I would urge my colleagues to reject this 
amendment. I think I have about 1 minute remaining. I will be glad to 
yield that to Senator Johnson, if he would like to have a minute and a 
half to try to rehabilitate his amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I appreciate the Senator from Maryland 
yielding time.
  If I could ask a question, if this amendment fails in terms of 
involving the House, I have another amendment that if the Senate 
decides not to deem this a treaty--and I believe it should be deemed a 
treaty--we can also deem this a congressional executive agreement 
which, of course, would have to be voted on by both Houses.
  I think the fact is this does rise to the level of a treaty. Again, 
there is no specific criteria in terms of what creates a treaty or 
comprises a treaty and what doesn't. In the end, what determines 
whether something is a treaty is how it is approved by Congress.
  From my standpoint, when we take a look at the considerations in the 
Foreign Affairs Manual, in terms of what actually causes something to 
become a treaty, the extent to which the agreement involves commitments 
or risks affects the Nation as a whole. I think this deal between Iran 
and America and the world affects and risks--certainly affects the 
Nation as a whole.
  Another consideration is whether the agreement can be given effect 
without the enactment of subsequent legislation by the Congress. I 
think the fact that we are even debating this bill lends credence to 
the fact that Congress needs to be involved.
  In the end, though, it is not about involving Congress. This is about 
involving the American people. I think the American people should have 
a say through their elected officials as to whether this is a good deal 
or a bad deal. The fact that this bill does allow some involvement, 
some role, forces the administration to, for example, provide us the 
details of the bill. Can you imagine the arrogance that they would not 
even provide the details without this bill?
  Again, I appreciate the Senator yielding time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Texas (Mr. Cruz), the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. 
Graham), and the Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Maryland (Ms. Mikulski) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 39, nays 57, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 167 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--4

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order requiring 60 votes 
for the adoption of this amendment, the amendment is rejected.
  The majority whip.