David Perdue Emerging as Key Player on Foreign Relations

By Lesniewski, Niels | Roll Call, July 22, 2015 | Go to article overview

David Perdue Emerging as Key Player on Foreign Relations


Lesniewski, Niels, Roll Call


David Perdue knew he wanted a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee before he became a senator, and joining the panel has positioned him well for having a voice in the debate over last week's agreement with Iran about its nuclear program.

There's been no shortage of bluster and rhetorical flourishes about the potential consequences from detractors of the agreement between Iran and six world powers -- the U.S., Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. There have even been comparisons to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler by Neville Chamberlain before the outbreak of World War II.

But Perdue, a Georgia Republican known for his business background, favors a far more sober approach to the congressional review process. He spoke with CQ Roll Call last week, shortly before he planned to go to a secure room to review classified documents about the deal and components related to the United Nations.

"Our job right now is to do what we set out to do in the first beginning, and that is to get a bipartisan consensus about what's best for the American security, American people and really deal with this in that perspective. This is not about the president. It's not about partisan politics," Perdue said. "You know, we had a unanimous vote in the Foreign Relations Committee."

Perdue was speaking of the legislation ultimately spearheaded by Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., that set up the ground rules for the legislative branch to have the chance to disapprove of the ultimate agreement with Iran.

As the only former Fortune 500 CEO serving in the Senate, Perdue has experience working overseas and prefers to study the issues and work behind the scenes.

"As a member of that committee, I've lived outside the United States, I've worked outside the United States. I brought a perspective, and we fought hard -- both sides. Sen. Cardin did a great job. Sen. Corker did a great job of bringing us together and getting a consensus vote," Perdue said.

Perdue was among the senators building up support for that original legislation, which ultimately got more than the 67 votes needed to overcome what was at that point an expected veto by President Barack Obama. Now, the challenge is to build a consensus about a response to the agreement that could achieve similar support.

He was also one of many Republicans (and some key Democrats) who criticized Obama for what critics view as an end-run around the process by going to the United Nations Monday. …

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