President Donald J. Trump simultaneously can advance his policy agenda, fortify the rule of law, and paint vulnerable Democrats into a corner. How? Rather than kill Obama’s legacy projects unilaterally, Trump should invite Congress to help him scrap the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris agreement on so-called global warming, and the related Clean Power Plan (CPP). This will force vulnerable Democrats on Capitol Hill to vote on these calamitous measures.
Trump should transmit to the Senate the Iran nuke accord and the Paris climate pact. He should ask the upper body to vote on these international measures as treaties, requiring 67 votes for passage. Neither will reach that threshold, and both will fail — but not before senators vote on each proposal.
This is how these international items should have been handled. Instead, Obama dubbed the Iran deal an “executive agreement,” which automatically went into effect, unless Congress killed it, subject to his veto. This cockeyed procedure — which Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and former speaker John Boehner inexplicably allowed — made the Iran deal impossible to kill.
Even worse, the Paris treaty became binding upon America on November 4, after 55 foreign CO2-producing nations adopted it. Rather than seek the Senate’s consent, Obama outsourced its authorization to parliaments overseas.
These assaults on the rule of law aside, the deals are dreadful on the merits.
Rather than tame Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has unleashed an even more aggressive power. Under Obama’s blessed deal, Iran has tested missiles (including one on Wednesday), harassed U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, and even held American sailors hostage at gunpoint and on their knees. In the closing days of his reign of error, Obama approved Russia’s delivery of 130 tons of natural uranium to Tehran — enough to fuel ten atomic bombs. This atop some $1.7 billion in cash that the U.S. jetted to the Iranians, plus at least $50 billion of unfrozen assets. None of this has tamed Tehran.
Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton explained in Monday’s Wall Street Journalhow this deal is all gums and no teeth. As Annex B states, “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for eight years.
I hereby call upon Warren Buffett to send me $1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock. I await my shares.
The Paris Treaty sets non-binding CO2 limits. America most likely would abide by these restrictions and pay the price in economic stagnation. Brazil, China, India, Russia, and other nations probably would regard the deal as a list of suggestions, leaving America at a disadvantage.
The CPP is not a treaty. Therefore, both the Senate and the House would have to vote on it. GOP lawmakers will see that it dies a well-deserved death, and Democrats will have to decide whether to join Republicans in this merciful deed, or stand with the kite-sailor-in-chief and his nearly $1 trillion anti-warming symbol.
Obama’s Department of Energy determined that, between 2015 and 2040, the CPP would cost the U.S. economy $993 billion in foregone real GDP and $382 billion in squandered disposable income. In exchange, CPP would do virtually nothing about so-called global warming. CPP would reduce expected warming by 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit in 2050. This is like cranking a thermostat from 72 degrees all the way down to 71.98 degrees. No wonder former EPA chief Gina McCarthy called CPP a “strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action” — in other words, a trillion dollars worth of window dressing.
All of this should spread anxiety among Senate Democrats from states that Trump won, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Deeper worry should infuse Democrats from Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia — states that Trump and Mitt Romney both secured.
Senate Democrats such as Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Manchin should join Trump as bipartisan pallbearers at the funerals of these unpopular, foolish, and destructive policies. It will be tough for Trump’s seething critics to call him an environment-hating warmonger if at least some Democrats help him and the GOP bury these horrid measures. This would boost Trump’s political capital and please conservatives. But it will enrage the already volcanic Democratic base.
Trump should force vulnerable Democrats on Capitol Hill to vote on Obama’s calamitous measures.
If, conversely, these non-rabid Democrats take a jump to the left and vote to hand billions to the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism and to cremate the U.S. economy on the altar of so-called global warming, George Soros will be thrilled. And moderate Democrats and independent voters will be appalled.
Either way, Trump wins, and already endangered Democrats will find themselves on ice as thin as contact lenses.
Rarely have good policy and good politics walked so tightly hand in hand. President Trump can trigger all of this simply by sending these three measures to Capitol Hill and calling for the yeas and nays.