06 Jul Obama’s Plan to (Temporarily) Use Executive Agreements for Arms Control
ABC reports that President Obama is considering the temporary use of executive agreements to create a news arms control treaty with Russia this winter.
MOSCOW — With the clock running out on a new US-Russian arms treaty before the previous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expires on December 5, a senior White House official said Sunday said that the difficulty of the task might mean temporarily bypassing the Senate’s constitutional role in ratifying treaties by enforcing certain aspects of a new deal on an executive levels and a “provisional basis” until the Senate ratifies the treaty.
As far as I know, this has never been done before with respect to arms control agreements, temporarily or otherwise. But I am willing to be corrected on this. Whether it has been done before or not, this plan obviously creates some structural tensions. What if the Senate decides not to ratify? How long are the executive agreements in effect? And why wouldn’t such a method be used for all treaties prior to Senate advice and consent? Whom should we ask? Maybe the new Legal Advisor to the State Department has an opinion on this?