Lawmakers Push for Congressional Oversight on Possible North Korea Deal

The consequences from the controversial congressional debate over the Iran nuclear deal made a number of lawmakers push for a more active role in President Donald Trump’s diplomatic relations with North Korea.

According to Reuters, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said that whatever the outcome from Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the result should get congressional approval and to be declared as a treaty that needs Senate ratification or in the form of separate oversight legislation.

“Shouldn’t we have a uniform standard that the deal should be subject to some congressional review before it can be considered fait accompli and done?” Democratic Senator Tim Kaine asked during a congressional hearing this week. “I do not want there to be a deal done unilaterally by an Article II executive without a review process that is at least as significant as the review process that we unanimously agreed should be imposed with respect to the Iranian deal.”

Meanwhile, at a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Congress has more influence over relations with North Korea than it had on the Iran deal. “I think the bar is low, and I’m going to beat that,” Pompeo said of keeping Congress in the loop, a swipe at the Obama administration.

However, this week several Democrats said that they will block sanctions relief if a North Korea deal does not meet certain principles.

The principles include benchmarks similar to what Trump wanted in the Iran deal, including the ability to conduct inspections anytime, anywhere and an assurance that the deal will be permanent.

Still, Democrats would not commit to legislation similar to what Congress passed to oversee the Iran agreement.

“If we think that the President is veering off course, we would not hesitate to move. But let’s see where he’s headed,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told Reuters.

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