WASHINGTON — A Republican senator says he has been assured by the Trump administration that any North Korean nuclear deal would be submitted to Congress for approval.
Sen. James Risch of Idaho made the remarks Tuesday during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing featuring two North Korea experts, ahead of next week's scheduled summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
After the hearing, he told reporters that "the president, the vice president and the secretary of state have all told me separately that their intent is to put together a treaty that will be submitted to the United States Senate under the Constitution for certification."
During the hearing, Risch contrasted what he said would be the Trump approach to a North Korean nuclear pact with the Obama administration's decision to forge an Iran deal without Congress. Trump has since backed out of the Iran nuclear agreement.
"They know that the Constitution requires them to not only get consent but to get advice," Risch said, speaking of the Trump administration's approach on North Korea.
Other senators pointed out that any significant permanent change to U.S. sanctions against North Korea would require an act of Congress, under a 2016 law that made certain North Korea sanctions mandatory.
"Congress needs to be involved in this," said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. "We might have to act, because our sanctions regime is mandatory."
Also at the hearing, NBC News North Korea analyst Victor Cha, who dropped out of consideration earlier this year to be Trump's ambassador to South Korea, testified that he doubts that Kim Jong Un intends to give up his nuclear weapons.
"For over 50 years they've been working on this thing, and the notion that they are ready to show up in Singapore and say, 'Here, it's all yours now,' I'm skeptical about it," he said.