President Barack Obama and Congress are headed for another power clash on the international stage, as key Senate Republicans challenge his efforts to forge a global pact on climate change. The White House considers the agreement with nearly 200 nations a historic opportunity to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions world-wide. But some GOP senators view it as executive overreach, and they are quietly considering ways to warn other countries that the president doesn't speak for them and may not be able to deliver on his promises to slash emissions.
The core question of whether Obama has the authority to carry out the EPA rules that will be crucial to making an international deal work will eventually be decided in court (his authority to negotiate the deal itself could conceivably be tested in court, too). But these GOP moves appear to be about more than just legal differences over the president's authority and more than merely an effort to assert more Congressional oversight over the process, a legitimate goal unto itself. Rather, just as on Iran, the moves also appear designed to sow uncertainty abroad, in hopes of imperiling Obama's ability to negotiate the deal itself. Indeed, the Journal story claims that "many Republicans" see this as a "potential avenue" to "complicate negotiations of the international agreement."