Saturday, May 18, 2024

US House passes series of bills aimed at “squeezing Iran financially” after Israel attack

The Republican-led US House has voted in favor of a series of bills aimed at squeezing Tehran financially in response to an unprecedented drone and missile attack launched by Iran against Israel over the weekend.

Three separate bills were brought to the floor Monday under suspension of the rules, a fast-track process that requires two-thirds support for passage, allowing for floor votes to be taken immediately.

The bills largely seek to impose financial penalties on Iran, those that support it and “its network of proxies”.

The bills voted for on Monday night are largely noncontroversial and enjoy support from a majority of Democrats.

They include a bill to terminate the tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations found to be supporting terrorist groups; legislation aimed at disrupting the Chinese purchase of Iranian oil and petroleum products; and an effort to cut off the Iranian government from using the US financial system.

But even as Democrats support this package of bills, they are critical of Republicans for failing for weeks to bring to a vote the Senate-passed $95 billion national security supplemental, which includes aid for not only Israel but also Ukraine and Taiwan.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) expressed support for H.R. 6408 — a bill that would terminate the tax-exempt status of terrorist-supporting organizations, which he co-sponsored with Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.).

But Schneider pleaded with Republicans to bring the national security supplemental legislation to the floor.

“I again want to thank my colleague, Rep. Kustoff, for his partnership and work on this legislation … and I urge all of my colleagues to not only support this legislation, but also, as we have said, to support the essential security funding that came from the Senate,” he said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday evening unveiled a plan to Republicans to move four separate bills to address aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other national security priorities. It’s not yet clear how Democrats will respond to the proposals.

The White House earlier on Monday announced it opposed a stand-alone bill for aid for Israel.

Earlier on Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for Johnson to put to a vote on Monday night the Senate-passed national security supplemental.

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