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Full Text: Letter By Senator Tom Cotton Signed By 46 Republicans

Mar 9, 2015

Senator Tom Cotton R-AR
  Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with 46 of his Republican colleagues in the Senate today released an open letter to the the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the ongoing nuclear negotiations between their country and the United States. A PDF of the official letter can be found here.  President Obama said, "I think it's somewhat ironic to see some members for Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran. It's an unusual coalition." On the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said, "This letter is a hard slap not only in the face the United States, but our allies.  This is not a time to undermine the commander in chief purely out of spite."  The  text of the letter can be found below:  An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran: 

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress. First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement. Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades. What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time. We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress. Sincerely, Senator Tom Cotton, R-ARSenator Orrin Hatch, R-UT  Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA       Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY      Senator Richard Shelby, R-AL         Senator John McCain, R-AZ Senator James Inhofe, R-OK           Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS   Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL  Senator Michael Enzi, R-WYSenator Michael Crapo, R-ID           Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC       Senator John Cornyn, R-TX             Senator Richard Burr, R-NCSenator John Thune, R-SD  Senator Johnny Isakson, R-GASenator David Vitter, R-LA  Senator John A. Barrasso, R-WY     Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS           Senator Jim Risch, R-IDSenator Mark Kirk, R-IL       Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO     Senator Jerry Moran, R-KSSenator Rob Portman, R-OH           Senator John Boozman, R-AR          Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA  Senator John Hoeven, R-NDSenator Marco Rubio, R-FL  Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI Senator Rand Paul, R-KYSenator Mike Lee, R-UT       Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH Senator Dean Heller, R-NV  Senator Tim Scott, R-SC       Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX       Senator Deb Fischer, R-NE  Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV         Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA    Senator Cory Gardner, R-CO           Senator James Lankford, R-OK       Senator Steve Daines, R-MTSenator Mike Rounds, R-SDSenator David Perdue, R-GA           Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC   Senator Joni Ernst, R-IA       Senator Ben Sasse, R-NE     Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK

Click here for a PDF Of the official letter.