Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Monday that Republicans would vote to terminate aid to the United Nations if President Barack Obama runs to the U.N. for approval of an Iran nuclear deal without first consulting Congress.
"To the president, if you take this deal to the U.N. Security Council first, if you go to the United Nations before you come to your own Congress, there will be a backlash like you've never seen in Congress, and we'll suspend aid to the U.N. because that would be so provocative," Graham told Fox News.
Congress is awaiting an announcement from the Obama administration on a final deal, which is due by a March 31 deadline. It's still not clear that Obama can find an agreement on his own terms, let alone a deal that can be supported by Republicans and Democrats who want to be sure Iran is completely blocked from developing a nuclear weapon.
Obama administration officials have indicated the deal would go to the U.N. for approval, and that Congress would have to accept it at some later date in order for sanctions against Iran to be rolled back.
Graham said that while Obama is trying to go around Congress once again, Congress has the power to force a vote on the agreement. A bipartisan Senate bill has been proposed to require congressional approval of any Iran deal, and Graham said the votes are there to override Obama's veto of that bill.
"We've been able to convince enough Democrats that you should want to look at this deal as much as we do, because a bad deal will lead to a nuclear arms race," he said. "Basically, the White House is losing control of the Democratic Party."
Graham, a noted defense hawk in the Senate, also said Obama is incapable of negotiating a tough deal with Iran that would stop its nuclear ambitions. When asked how an acceptable agreement could be reached, he said, "get a new president."
"Basically what you have to do is convince the Iranians that they're never going to have a nuclear breakout without … a military action being taken," he said.