Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
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 [www.gpo.gov] 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. ____________________