"The legal procedure through which the United States withdraws from treaties and other international agreements has been the subject of long-standing debate between the legislative and executive branches. Recently, questions concerning the role of Congress in the withdrawal process have arisen in response to statements made by President Donald J. Trump that he may consider withdrawing the United States from certain high-profile international commitments. This report outlines the legal framework for withdrawal from international agreements under domestic and international law, and it examines legal issues related to the potential termination of two agreements that may be of significance to the 115th Congress: the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) related to Iran’s nuclear program.
Although the Constitution sets forth a definite procedure whereby the Executive has the power to
make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is silent as to how treaties may be
terminated. Moreover, not all agreements between the United States and foreign states are made
through Senate-approved, ratified treaties. The President also enters into executive agreements,
which do not receive the Senate’s advice and consent, and “political commitments,” which are not
binding under domestic or international law. The legal procedure for withdrawal often depends on
the type of agreement at issue, and the process may be further complicated when Congress has
enacted legislation implementing the agreement into domestic law..."