Levin Floor Statement on Iran

Sep 11, 2015 Issues: Foreign Affairs

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 3460, a bill that would suspend the President’s authority to waive sanctions, and in effect prevent him from implementing the Comprehensive Agreement:

For far too long we faced the nightmare of Iran with nuclear bombs.

Impacted by heavy sanctions, Iran finally agreed to negotiate led by the United States and five other nations.

After agreeing on a Framework,  which Iran complied with, the parties completed the much detailed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

When I issued my statement of support for JCPOA six weeks ago, its fate was uncertain.

What decisively turned the tide was the impassioned leadership of the President with Secretaries Kerry and Monis, combined with a momentous outpouring of support outside the political realm from a vast array of scientific experts, experienced diplomats, key figures from all religious faiths, a wide variety of military leaders, and informed expressions from major former Governmental figures of the highest integrity, including Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft.

It also became increasingly clear that there was no other workable alternative.

This point was reinforced by the joint statement yesterday from British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Hollander and German Chancellor Merkel. 

They said among other points: "This is not an agreement based on trust or any assumption about how Iran may look in 10 or 15 years. It is based on detailed, tightly written controls that are verifiable and long-lasting. Iran will have strong incentives not to cheat: the near certainty of getting caught and the consequences that would follow would make this a losing proposition".

It is now absolutely clear that the JCPOA will go into effect, requiring the initial set of detailed obligations that Iran must fulfill.

It is therefore time to go on.

This institution, which has been a major center of attacks on the JCPOA, would hopefully have those who opposed now join with those who supported the Agreement and work together to rekindle the kind of overall bipartisanship that Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan urged should apply to key foreign policy issues as they "approached the water's edge".

Surely this kind of rekindled bipartisanship needs to be undertaken in particular to take steps to deepen support for Israel's security, to fight and defeat terrorism and to rekindle efforts for viable peace negotiations.

I urge you to vote “yes” on HR 3461, which is a vote of approval for the Comprehensive Agreement that would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  

I urge you to vote “no” on HR 3460, which would suspend the President’s authority to waive sanctions, and in effect prevent him from implementing the Comprehensive Agreement. 

It is indeed time to move on and to take next steps.  Failure to do so but  instead to perpetuate partisanship will, I strongly believe, be counterproductive for any who try it and for our entire  nation.  We can and must do much better.