A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama's administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.Ahh, but Republicans told Bloomberg's Josh Rogin that Both Sides Do it!, and Rogin retransmitted that claim exactly as it was dictated to him:
Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber's entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “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.”
Republicans ... have a new argument to make in asserting their role in the diplomatic process: Vice President Joe Biden similarly insisted -- in a letter to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell -- on congressional approval for the Moscow Treaty on strategic nuclear weapons with Russia in 2002, when he was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.You know what? Joe Biden didn't say that -- at least not on his own, or speaking for the members of his own party only. The letter in question -- as you can see from the link provided in the story, though you'd never know it from the text of the story itself -- was signed by Biden and the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, who just so happened to be Jesse Helms. As The New York Times reported at the time:
The ranking Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have written to the Bush administration demanding that any nuclear arms reductions with Russia be submitted to the Senate as a formal treaty, according to copy of their letter obtained today.And please note that the letter was addressed to our own secretary of state -- not to Vladimir Putin.
Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, and Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, said an agreement on "significant obligations by the United states regarding deployed U.S. strategic nuclear warheads" would "constitute a treaty subject to the advice and consent of the Senate."
The treaty took a while to win Senate approval, but it was ultimately ratified by a maximally non-partisan vote of 95 to 0. Needless to say, this will not happen with the current treaty.
So, no, these situations aren't comparable, and it's journalistic malpractice to suggest that they are.