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Pompeo criticizes Iran nuclear deal at Chamber luncheon (+video)

Pompeo criticizes Iran nuclear deal at Chamber luncheon

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo updated members of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce about Washington issues on Wednesday. (Aug. 5, 2015/Dan Voorhis/The Wichita Eagle)
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U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo updated members of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce about Washington issues on Wednesday. (Aug. 5, 2015/Dan Voorhis/The Wichita Eagle)

U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo doesn’t think the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran is a good idea – at all.

Pompeo, who represents the 4th District of Kansas, criticized the negotiated treaty Wednesday during the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Federal Forum at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

He also plugged his efforts to block states from mandating that companies label genetically modified food, criticized the Obama administration’s Clean Energy Plan and explained why he voted against the Export-Import Bank.

Pompeo said the nuclear treaty gives away too much to an Iranian regime that hates the United States.

“The bargain is, in exchange for slowing down the path to a nuclear weapon, we will give you the keys to the candy store,” he said.

The treaty allows Iran to continue to develop ballistic missiles and even provides up to 24-day delays before inspecting some locations. And that’s just if it abides by the agreement, he said.

“Anyone think the Iranians won’t cheat? … The Iranians will cheat tomorrow. It’s inevitable,” he said.

Pompeo dismissed the administration’s contention that to keep Iran from getting the bomb it’s either this treaty or war. The Ayatollah Khamenei is negotiating only because his economy was hurting so badly that it would cause Iranians to revolt, Pompeo said. The U.S. eased sanctions earlier and took off some of the pressure.

“We were on the cusp of what will truly keep the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon, which is regime change, and we gave it away,” he said.

Retaining current American sanctions, he said, will cause the Europeans to re-engage and get Iran to agree to no enrichment, 24/7 inspections and complete abandonment of research.

Congress will vote on the treaty just after Labor Day, he said.

On other topics:

Export-Import Bank

Pompeo voted against re-authorization of the government entity that guaranteed loans for exports.

“It is, in my judgment, an enormous transfer of wealth from lots of people to a small group of folks who have the ability to get loan guarantees backed by the private market,” he said.

It’s likely to come back to Congress in the fall, and proponents are trying to come up with a more palatable version, he said.

GMO labeling bill

Pompeo is the sponsor of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which blocks states from mandating labels for genetically modified foods.

The science is clear, he said: GMO foods are safe. If people are worried about GMOs, they can look for food that is labeled as not containing such, he said. But allowing some states to mandate the labeling is unfair.

“We ought not require a mandatory label for a safe food product,” he said. “If it’s not dangerous, for goodness sakes don’t label it bad.”

He said he’s gotten more threats and angry phone calls on this than any other topic.

The bill has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.

Immigration

Pompeo said he’s torn on the issue of immigration.

It’s too easy to get here, and too hard to become a citizen, leaving millions in limbo, he said. But just allowing those here to become citizens doesn’t solve the problem.

“No one is ready to wave a wand to make those people legal if tomorrow there’s going to be another million,” he said.

Not just here, but in Europe and elsewhere, he said, citizens and immigrants alike deserve a system that rewards the right behavior.

Clean Power Plan

Pompeo said the plan will drive up costs for each household – and with almost no benefit to the United States.

The plan would impose steep costs on coal plants to encourage the switch to slightly more expensive renewable wind and solar power, as well as natural gas, he said.

The cuts will reduce only a small amount of CO2 in the global atmosphere, he said. Doing what is really needed would take more reductions and changes.

“The only way to achieve those kinds of reductions is destroy the economy,” he said.

Benghazi

Pompeo serves on a House committee investigating the incident in Libya in which four Americans were killed. It has interviewed 80 people and reviewed 450,000 pages of documents, he said, but even that’s not enough.

“We have been denied access to enormous amounts of material,” he said. “The State Department has given us 12 percent of the documents we have requested.”

Some classified documents, to the State Department’s surprise, were sitting on former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home server, he said.

Clinton will appear at a public committee hearing on Oct. 26. The committee will issue the report by the end of the year, Pompeo said.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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