Write Congressional Democrats to encourage them to take steps to address the Iran deal’s flaws before voting “yes”
With virtually every Republican likely to vote “no” on the Iran deal, the fate of the deal rests in the hands of Congressional Democrats. They will be under enormous political pressure from their Party to vote “yes.” And as I noted in a previous Post, Congressional Democrats have a good faith basis for concluding that a flawed Iran deal is better than no deal (although the opposite is also true). It therefore appears that the deal will likely survive Congressional review.
But in my view, this should not be the end of the matter. The deal’s flaws must be mitigated, and Congressional Democrats have the time and the leverage to obtain commitments from the Administration to mitigate these flaws before they vote in favor of the deal. (If it appears that a veto-proof coalition of Republicans and Democrats will vote against the deal, perhaps because they believe the deal’s flaws will not be mitigated, then we will have a different set of challenges to address).
If concerned citizens put pressure on Congressional Democrats for the next three weeks, we could ensure that their (already likely) “yes” votes do more than toe the Party line; we could substantially improve the implementation of the Iran deal, and thus the security of the U.S. The best way to apply such pressure is to write our elected officials. And we should.
What’s the Best Way to Communicate with a Member?
Before putting pen-to-paper (literally, I’m not kidding), here are a few tips:
- Note you are a constituent and, if true, a consistent voter and someone who is active in your community;
- A personal note is better than a form letter;
- A handwritten/typed and signed letter that is sent via the U.S. Postal Service is more persuasive than email (but email may be responded to more quickly);
- Make sure you have a clear request;
- Be concise; and
- Be polite.
What do I Say?
As I noted above, to be effective, the letter needs to be in your own voice. And you may have concerns about the Iran deal that are different than mine. That said, here are the points that I will be making in my letters on the Iran deal:
- I am writing about the upcoming vote on the Iran deal;
- I recognize that there are strong arguments for and against the deal, and that reasonable people may disagree on whether to vote for the deal. For this reason, I understand [your expressed support for the deal] [the fact that you are still undecided on the deal].
- Nevertheless, I am concerned that the deal has serious flaws, and I believe Congress has an obligation to mitigate those flaws to the greatest extent possible. Accordingly, I would expect Congressional Democrats to secure commitments from the Administration to take action to address these flaws before agreeing to a “yes” vote. And I would expect all Members of Congress to engage in rigorous oversight of the deal’s implementation if it is approved.
- In particular, I am concerned about the following implications of the deal:
- With substantial limitations imposed on IAEA inspections, what additional steps will the U.S. and the other P5+1 nations take to determine whether Iran is complying with its obligations?
- What sanctions will the U.S. and other countries maintain or implement to ensure that Iran is under some ongoing pressure to comply with the deal’s terms?
- Beyond providing military and intelligence assistance to the Sunni regimes in the region, what other steps will the U.S. take to ensure that Iran does not use its windfall from sanctions relief to destabilize the region and provide greater support to Hezbollah?
- The increased aid to Sunni regimes will support the “far enemy” narrative of al Qaeda and IS, thereby providing them with: (1) fodder for their highly-effective propaganda and recruiting machines; and (2) an additional “justification” in their view for sanctioning and carrying out attacks against the U.S. and European nations. What will the U.S. and its allies, including the Sunni regimes in the region, do to counteract these dangerous unintended consequences in the near- and mid-term? We cannot implement a deal with Iran (partly to garner Iran’s support in the fight against IS) that has the perverse effect of galvanizing al Qaeda and IS.
- I would like to know what you will do before the vote to ensure that Congress and the Administration will take steps to address these shortcomings in the deal. I would also like to know what you will do to ensure that Congress engages in effective oversight if the deal is approved. We must ensure that the deal is implemented in a manner that actually improves our security.
Where do I Write?
House of Representatives:
Type in your zip code, then click on your Representative’s name, then click on their “contact” information on their webpage.
You will find contact information for every Senator on this page.