U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., scored a win towards the end of last week as his proposal adding more sanctions on Hezbollah passed the Senate without opposition.
Back in July, Rubio and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, both of whom serve on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, unveiled the “Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act.” The bill, which was also championed by U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Id., the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, would expand sanctions created by the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act" which Rubio and Shaheen brought out back in 2015, targeting companies that provide financial, technological and other help to Hezbollah or help with its fundraising and recruiting. The proposal also requires the White House to report to Congress whether financial institutes in Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism are helping Hezbollah.
Rubio weighed in after the Senate unanimously passed the measure on Thursday.
“Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies, including the democratic state of Israel,” said Rubio. “The president and Congress should build on the successes of our 2015 law that targets Hezbollah, its proxies and its enablers, and enact this new bill to strengthen international efforts to combat the financing and expansion of Hezbollah’s terrorist and missile threats, as well as its narcotics trafficking and other transnational criminal activities. I’m glad the Senate passed our bill, and I look forward to working with the House to enact these provisions into law.”
“I’m proud to once again join Senator Rubio in advancing legislation to inflict additional financial pressure on Iran’s terrorist proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah,” said Shaheen. “Congress should exercise every tool at its disposal to confront Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region outside of the Iran nuclear deal, particularly in Lebanon, where Hezbollah continues to stockpile rockets and other weapons that directly threaten our ally Israel and provide military support to the murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. This legislation serves as another reminder that Democrats and Republicans are united in our commitment to confronting this threatening and unacceptable behavior.”
“Hezbollah has been long recognized as a destabilizing force in the Middle East,” said Crapo. “This bill will increase economic and logistical sanctions on Hezbollah, significantly cutting off the flow of resources toward its fundraising and recruitment activities.”
Rubio and Shaheen have worked against Hezbollah before. Their 2015 legislation imposed sanctions on businesses and banks that knowingly work with Hezbollah and its affiliates including the al-Manar Hezbollah television station. That legislation also directed the president to report to Congress on Hezbollah’s efforts and what the U.S. government is doing to fight that terrorist group. The bill was sponsored in the House by California Republican Edward Royce, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with Ted Deutch of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, as a key co-sponsor.In 2014, Rubio and Shaheen brought out a resolution urging the EU to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Over on the House side, Royce and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs committee, have a similar bill. Royce and Engel worked with Rubio and Shaheen to craft the 2015 sanctions legislation.
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