Republican members of congress are about to unveil what is likely to be a significant piece of legislation.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday that the Republican Study Committee (RSC) plans to put forth an “unprecedented” legislative proposal that would target the regimes in China, Russia, Iran, and elsewhere.
“The policy proposal includes more than 140 new initiatives intending to reassert Republican leadership on the foreign policy stage,” the outlet wrote in its exclusive report which was based on a copy of the legislation itself.
The part of the legislation that is already garnering a lot of attention is what the Beacon has called “the largest package of Iran sanctions in history.” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), the chair of the RSC, similarly referred to them as “the toughest sanctions that have ever been proposed by Congress on Iran.”
The measures against Iran, which include sanctions against the military group that recently attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, are designed to significantly weaken Tehran’s global terrorism network. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), discussed this goal in a recent interview on Fox News.
“Iran has been responsible for more than 600 deaths of men and women from the United States, specifically our military. It was time to get serious about this,” he said. “As the ranking member of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism subcommittee, we have been noticing that a lot of the cash that was sent under the Obama Administration, 1.7 billion dollars, has gone to terrorist organizations that are supporting Hezbollah and some of this is being funneled through Iran and it’s time to get serious about these sanctions.”
The Beacon, in its report, highlights other parts of the legislation as well. This includes “contested American taxpayer aid to Lebanon and other Middle Eastern nations controlled by Iran, sanctions waivers that have kept Tehran’s nuclear program alive, and the 2002 authorization for use of military force in Iraq.”
Chances it gets passed
So, what are the chances of it getting passed and becoming law? The Republicans putting the package forth are optimistic.
“We’re not doing this for messaging purposes,” Rep. Johnson said. “Many of these things we would expect and should be bipartisan because this is one of these issues that every person who looks at the situation objectively should agree to.”
Accordingly, Johnson thinks that there are Democrats who could support large portions of the legislation, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY).
An unexpected snag?
Republicans, however, may find an opponent in the White House for at least two reasons: one, the new legislation would require consent from both the House and the Senate for the White House to be able to lift any sanctions put into place, and, two, it calls for the cancellations of some sanction waivers for Iran – including the waiver that allows Iran to sell electricity to Iraq.
Accordingly, we’ll have to see how the White House, as well as the Democrats, respond to the proposal. But, first things first, the proposal has to be put forth, and that is expected to take place on Wednesday.