TREATY WITHDRAWALS; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 207
(Senate - January 02, 2019)

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[Page S8056]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           TREATY WITHDRAWALS

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, today I wish to call attention to 
President Trump's recent decisions to withdraw or threaten U.S. 
withdrawal from four treaties: the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces 
Treaty, INF Treaty; the Universal Postal Union, UPU, treaty; the 
Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 
``VCDR Option Protocol''; and the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations 
and Consular Rights between the United States and Iran, ``Treaty of 
Amity''. The President made these decisions without notice or 
meaningful consultation with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 
the congressional committee charged with responsibility and 
jurisdiction over treaties.
  As the ranking member of that committee, I am compelled to 
strenuously object to the manner in which the President has acted, but 
all Senators should protest, regardless of their views on the substance 
of the respective agreements. The President's actions erode the 
constitutional powers of this body and our institutional prerogatives.
  Article 2 of the Constitution endows the President and the Senate 
with shared power over treaties. The President, it states, ``shall have 
power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make 
treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.''
  While the Constitution does not expressly dictate a procedure for 
terminating treaty relationships, Senators have long asserted that the 
shared treaty power extends to withdrawal and therefore also requires 
Senate advice and consent. Even though the executive branch may not 
agree with this position, what is unacceptable is that Senators are 
first learning about these withdrawals online or in the newspaper 
instead of through proactive outreach by and meaningful dialogue with 
the executive branch.
  President Trump has regrettably shown exceedingly little respect for 
the Constitution and for the institutional prerogatives of this body. I 
stand today to highlight one area in which he has actively undermined 
the Senate's constitutional role and authority. I plan to do everything 
in my power to protect the Senate's role and responsibilities over 
treaties and urge all of my colleagues to join in this effort.