March 18, 2015

Is the Iran Deal the New Obamacare?

By Ilan Goldenberg

Has the Iran deal become too big to fail? Last October, right-wing opponents of President Obama seized on comments by his advisor, Ben Rhodes, who suggested that the administration saw a nuclear agreement with Iran as comparable in magnitude to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in Obama’s first term. The comparison is more apt than Rhodes perhaps intended—and not just because the Iran nuclear debate has achieved levels of bitterness and partisanship reminiscent of the Obamacare fallout. Like the Affordable Care Act, if the negotiators are able to forge an initial political framework agreement in the next two weeks in Switzerland, the deal will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse.

In fact, both opponents and supporters of the deal should take a lesson from the Obamacare experience. If there is an agreement, rather than trying to fruitlessly weaken the deal as Republicans have done since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress should look for a more constructive role. Among other things, they could seek to address perceived weaknesses in the deal—such as the “sunset clause” under which many limits on the Iranian program are eventually lifted—by enacting future-sanctions legislation that will deter Iran from ever choosing to pursue a bomb, even in the distant future. Meanwhile, the White House should find ways to more effectively engage Congress in the process.

Read the full article at POLITICO.

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