A picture of Senator Bill Nelson
Bill N.
Democrat FL

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  • American Foreign Policy

    by Senator Bill Nelson

    Posted on 2015-03-10

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    NELSON. Mr. President, when 47 Republican Senators signed a letter sent to the Ayatollah Khomeini, it was a letter that although supposedly instructive of the constitutional provisions of the separation of government in the United States, in effect, it was a letter to erode the negotiating position of the President of the United States and his administration in trying to reach an agreement to not have a nuclear weapon capability of building a bomb in Iran.

    I think history will show the strength of American foreign policy has always been bipartisanship when it comes to the interests of America as we look out and have to defend ourselves against our enemies. Indeed, Iran with a nuclear bomb would be one of the gravest threats to our national security as well as to our allies. It saddens me that we have come to the point where we are so divided that nearly half of the Senators, on a partisan basis, in this great institution of the U.S. Senate, would in effect try to cut the legs from underneath the President and his administration in trying to reach an agreement to avert a nuclear bomb.

    So much has been said about this issue, but one common theme runs throughout, and it is that people seem to know what the agreement is as it is being negotiated in secret. This Senator will reserve judgment. This Senator is also an original cosponsor of the bill we filed to have Congress weigh in on any future lifting of economic sanctions that have been imposed by the Congress, and this Senator feels that is an appropriate role, under the separation of powers, of our job as Congress. But when we see a major part, on a partisan basis, of our government try to undercut and kill the negotiations while they are going on at this very moment in Geneva, then that goes a step too far.

    I am saddened. I think about what this Senator would have done when the President was not Barack Obama but George Bush. I cannot imagine that I would have tried to undercut the President of the United States representing this country and trying, on matters of war and peace, to keep peace. We can disagree about the specifics, but we still have to honor the institution of the Presidency, and when it becomes matters of war and peace, then we have to unify. That is why I am so saddened that we have come to the point at which we appear to be so divided.

    Mr. President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.

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