Milbank: Lack Of Relationship With Congress ‘Coming Back To Bite President Obama’

• April 7, 2015 8:12 pm


Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank said Tuesday that Chuck Schumer’s (D., N.Y. opposition to President Obama could spell disaster for the White House.

Without Democratic support, Obama would be able to veto any legislation he viewed as an interference with his negotiations. However, many Democrats have appeared ready to oppose the president, including many senior members.

"This is where it is coming back to bite President Obama that he doesn't have good relationships with anybody on Capitol Hill, pretty much even the Democrats," Milbank said.

"And when you say Chuck Schumer, the old but certain next Democratic Senate leader siding with the Bob Corker, Menendez on sanctions, I think it sent a signal they are very close to having enough votes to overcome a presidential veto and that is a very serious message to the White House that says you have to work with this Congress."

Both Sens. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.), the former and current ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, support Senators Corker and Tim Kaine’s (D., Va.) bipartisan bill to give Congress the authority to review the final draft of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran’s Ayatollah, expected at the end of June.

"It is not just about Mitch McConnell and John Boehner sticking their thumbs in your eye. Democrats were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and held off until they got the preliminary agreement and now there is a change," Milbank said.

McConnell is believed to be close to a veto-proof two-thirds majority of 67 votes.

A veto override would give Congress the power to decide whether they will lift sanctions on Iran.

Because Obama promised Iran that sanctions would be lifted in return for caps on their nuclear enrichment process, Congressional refusal to lift sanctions would likely end nullify any P5+1 deal and end negotiations.

"Per usual, he [Obama] went around Congress on this one and did what he wanted to do and now that he needs Congress, he wants the Democrats to be on board," The Cycle host Abby Huntsman said.

President Obama has been critical of Congress for partisan bickering. Americans are increasingly more partisan under President Obama, and polling suggests he is the most polarizing president ever.

Despite being a polarizing figure, Obama has been able to bring Republicans and Democrats together in skepticism of his deal. Veto overrides are extremely rare. Congress has overturned only 4 percent of all presidential vetoes.

"There is no goodwill there and where he really needs the Congress is where that is coming back to haunt him," Milbank said.