Donald Trump loyalists Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham want Senate to kill Joe Biden's plan to rejoin Paris, Iran deals

Donald Trump loyalists Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham want Senate to kill Joe Biden's plan to rejoin Paris, Iran deals
Ted Cruz, Joe Biden and Lindsey Graham (Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden has given an indication that he is keen to take the US back into the crucial Paris climate deal and Iran nuclear deal and some of President Donald Trump’s allies are planning to ruin that plan. Trump pulled the US out of the climate deal months after taking office in 2017 and from the Iran nuclear deal the next year, saying they were not helping Washington’s cause. 

Among the incumbent president’s allies who are working on ways to trip up Biden’s plans to rejoin those two international deals are Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz. While Graham has posted a series of tweets last week to suggest that rejoining the Iran N-deal and Paris accord would be disastrous for the US and that he was working to secure a vote in the Senate against the plan, Cruz has urged the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to submit both the agreements to the Senate for ratification so that they fail.

Both lawmakers planned to get the two agreements treated as treaties so that they would need a two-thirds Senate vote for approval, as outlined in the US Constitution. The Republicans currently have 50 seats in the chamber as against the Democrats’ 48 while the winners of two seats in Georgia will be decided early next month when they go to runoff elections. The GOP might find it tough to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate to block Biden's plan.

President Donald Trump announces his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, in June 2017 (Getty Images)


In his letter to the top leadership, Cruz wrote: “Your administration has rightly changed course as a matter of substantive policy by withdrawing from both the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement. This was a great accomplishment for the American people.”

Cruz calls Paris and Iran deals 'dangerous'

“I urge you now also to remedy the harm done to the balance of powers by submitting the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement to the Senate as treaties,” he said, adding: “Only by so doing will the Senate be able to satisfy its constitutional role to provide advice and consent in the event any future administration attempts to revive these dangerous deals.”

Cruz also tweeted the letter saying: “Last night I urged POTUS to submit the Iran Deal & Paris Agreement to the Senate as treaties. By submitting these disastrous deals to the Senate, we can provide advice & consent if a future administration attempts to revive them.”


Cruz also took a dig at the former Barack Obama administration saying it unilaterally signed the deals because they knew they would not get the Senate’s approval. “The only reason the Obama administration refused to submit these agreements to the Senate as treaties was that it knew the agreements were deeply unpopular and doomed for defeat,” the Texas senator wrote in his letter. 

On the other hand, Graham said in one tweet: “Working hard to secure a vote in the U.S. Senate regarding any potential decision to reenter the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). “Rejoining this agreement would be the most destructive decision a Biden administration could make regarding stability in the Middle East.”


Paris Accord a big win for China, India, says Graham

In another, he said: “The Senate should go on the record about whether it would support or oppose this decision.  “Also believe Senate should be on record in support or opposition to any decision to reenter Paris Climate Accord. As currently drafted, the Accord is a big win for China and India.”


The South Carolina senator, who is also the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, targeted both the big Asian economies as "enormous CO2 emitters and, under the Accord, go virtually unchallenged". Washington formally pulled out of the accord last month. 


Biden campaigned ahead of the election on the agenda to combat climate change, including plans to rejoin the Paris deal. He also promised to rejoin and strengthen multi-lateral agreements like the Iran nuclear deal though experts believe that the outgoing administration’s tough stance on Tehran would make it difficult for the incoming president to revive relations with the Middle Eastern power straight away.

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