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Published on September 11th, 2016 | by Lara Friedman


Congress Returns, Refocuses on Iran

by Lara Friedman

As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran.]

Congress returned this week from its summer recess – coming back for a very brief session before it goes back into recess for the final period before November elections. Surprising no one, GOP leaders returned to Washington eager to score points against the Obama administration over its Iran policy – immediately introducing 6 pieces of Iran-focused legislation (all 100% partisan), on top of a whopping 14 GOP letters sent to the Obama administration from GOP House and Senate members (over the recess and this week) demanding answers to long and leading lists of questions about Iran-related matters.

In addition, this week opened with a faux-anti-BDS event on Capitol Hill – “faux” because, consistent with the trend in Congress for more than a year, the real goal of the event was to legitimize settlements. As noted in Israel Hayom (the paper owned by Sheldon Adelson and viewed as so close to Netanyahu that it is nicknamed, “Bibiton”), the event was instigated by the Shomron Regional Council – the municipal body of settlements in the northern part of the West Bank – and featured settler leader Yossi Dagan. The opening paragraph of the article makes crystal clear the intent of the event: “U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday hosted a unique conference to support the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise and denounce anti-Israel incitement and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement’s activities on American university campuses.” Also see: A7: Samarian Council takes fight against BDS to Washington (with video); Ynet: Head of Samaria Regional Council speaks at congressional BDS conference; and JPost:  Republican Congressmen: BDS akin to 1930s anti-Semitism;

Bills & Resolutions

(NO $$ FOR IRAN) HR 5931: Introduced 9/6 by Royce (R-CA) and having 36 cosponsors (all GOP), “To provide for the prohibition on cash payments to the Government of Iran, and for other purposes” (aka, the “Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act “). Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  Royce press release promising introduction of the bill is here; his press release announcing introduction is here.

(NO $$ FOR IRAN) HR 5949: Introduced 9/7 by Lance (R-NJ) and having 3 cosponsors (all GOP), “To prohibit the use of funds to make payments to Iran relating to the settlement of claims brought before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal until Iran has paid certain compensatory damages awarded to United States persons by United States courts” (aka, the “Victims Before Ransom Act”). Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Lance press release is here.

(NO $$ FOR IRAN) HR 5940: Introduced 9/6 by Pompeo (R-KS) and having 7 cosponsors (all GOP), “To prohibit the President from using funds appropriated under section 1304 of title 31, United States Code, to make payments to Iran, to impose sanctions with respect to Iranian persons that hold or detain United States citizens, and for other purposes” (aka, the “No Ransom Payments Act of 2016”).  Referred to House Intelligence (Permanent). On 9/2, Pompeo issued a press releaseforeshadowing the bill and its Senate companion measure (S. 3285): Pompeo Readies Legislation on Iran Ransom Payment with Senator Rubio

(NO $$ FOR IRAN) HR 5941: Introduced 9/6 by Young (R-IA) and having 2 cosponsors (both GOP), “To provide for congressional review of transfers of funds from Executive agencies to state sponsors of terrorism, and for other purposes” (aka, the “Keep Taxpayer Dollars Safe from Terrorists Act of 2016”).  Referred to the House Rules Committee.

(NO $$ FOR IRAN) S. 3285: Introduced 9/6 by Rubio (R-FL) and having 21 cosponsors (all GOP), “A bill to prohibit the President from using funds appropriated under section 1304 of title 31, United States Code, to make payments to Iran, to impose sanctions with respect to Iranian persons that hold or detain United States citizens, and for other purposes” (aka, the “No Ransom Payments Act of 2016”). Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This is the Senate version of HR 5940. Rubio press release announcing the bill is here.  Press releases from other GOP senators expressing support for or claiming partial credit for the bill are: Gardner (R-CO);  Capito (R-WV)Kirk (R-IL); and Ayotte (R-NH),  Scott (R-SC ). Also see Rubio oped 9/7 in the Tampa Bay Times: Rubio: Ban Ransom Payments For Hostages

(NO PLANES OR PARTS FOR IRAN) S.3286: Introduced 9/6 by Rubio (R-FL) and no cosponsors, “A bill to prohibit the issuing of licenses for the export or reexport of aircraft and related parts and services to Iran” (aka, the “Keeping Aircraft Away from Terrorists Act of 2016”). Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

(UNDERMINING JCPOA BY ERECTING NEW BARRIER TO US BUSINESS WITH IRAN):  DeSantis amendment to HR 2357: On 9/8 the House passed HR 2357, the “Accelerating Access to Capital Act of 2015.” Before the bill went to the floor, the Rules committee made in order an amendments offered by DeSantis (R-FL) dealing with Iran. The amendment was not ultimately offered on the floor, but it is worth noting the content, since anti-JCPOA initiatives, once conceived, are likely to be brought up and efforts made to pass them over and over. The DeSantis amendment has to do with requirements for U.S. business to have relations with Iranian counterparts. Under current law, issuers of U.S. securities are already obligated to report transactions with key Iranian entities and persons linked to the government or under U.S. sanctions. The DeSantis amendment sought to extend this requirement to transactions with private, non-sanctioned Iranian entities – in effect, imply an assumed impropriety with respect to business relations with any and every Iranian partner, and treating as equally radioactive under U.S. law those Iranian entities that are involved in human rights abuses or support for terror, and private Iranian businesses that have no such links. This would represent a clear disincentive to U.S. business with Iran and, as such, a likely violation of the JCPOA. For further analysis, see NIAC’s memo analyzing and opposing the amendment.

(WAR CRIMES IN IRAQ & SYRIA) HR 5961: Introduced 9/8 by Smith (R-NJ) and 3 cosponsors, “To provide for relief of victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Iraq and Syria, for accountability for perpetrators of these crimes, and for other purposes.” Referred to House Judiciary Committee. 

(STABILITY IN LEBANON) H. Res. 852:  Introduced 9/8 by Hanna (R-NY) and 14 cosponsors, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the challenges posed to long-term stability in Lebanon by the conflict in Syria.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(CHRISTIAN PROPERTY IN EGYPT) HR 5974: Introduced 9/8 by Trott (R-MI) and no cosponsors, “To require the Secretary of State to submit an annual report to Congress regarding efforts to restore or repair Christian property in the Arab Republic of Egypt that was burned, damaged, or otherwise destroyed during the sectarian violence in August 2013, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(DISAPPROVING OF WEAPONS SALES TO KSA) S. J. Res. 39:  Introduced 9/8 by Paul (R-KY) and 3 cosponsors (bipartisan), “A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of M1A1/A2 Abrams Tank structures and other major defense equipment.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.  Cosponsors’ joint press release here.

(ENCOURAGE US-ISRAEL COOPERATION ON WATER) S. 2848: (Not reportedly previously) Introduced 4/25 by Inhofe (R-OK), the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. The bill (in all of its various forms) includes language supporting strengthened US-Israel on research and development of desalination technology. The bill was on the Senate floor this week.


(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Lankford letter: On 9/8, Senator Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to President Obama demanding answers (in writing, by September 19) to a laundry list of questions related to payments to Iran. Press release ishere.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Ayotte letter On 9/8, Senator Ayotte (R-NH) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper demanding answers (in writing, “without delay,”) to a list of questions regarding payments made by the Obama Administration to Iran.

(ACCUSING OBAMA OF HELPING IRAN GET AROUND JCPOA) Ayotte letter: On 9/6, Senator Ayotte (R-NH) sent a letter to President Obama demanding that the President give answers (“without delay”) to a laundry list of questions regarding “exemptions” given to Iran in connection with implementation of the JCPOA.

(POSTPONE ARMS SALE TO KSA) Lieu-Yoho et al letter: On 8/29, Reps. Lieu (D-CA) and Yoho (R-FL),  led a bipartisan list of 64 members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama regarding a planned major arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The letter urges Obama to postpone the sale to give Congress sufficient time to debate the merits of the deal in light of the Saudi-led Coalition’s operational conduct in Yemen. The letter is co-led by Conyers (D-MI), and Mulvaney (R-SC). Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Blunt letter: On 8/22, Senator Blunt (R-MO) sent a letter to Secretary Kerry demanding a detailed accounting of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion settlement with Iran. Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Heller letterOn 8/18, Senator Heller (R-NV) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry demanding answers to a list of questions about the timing of the payment of $400 million to Iran. Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Pompeo letter: On 8/17, Representative Pompeo (R-KS) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Lew demanding answers to a long list of questions about the $400 Million Cash Shipment to Iran by August 31. Press releasehere.

(ACCUSING OBAMA ADMIN OF BREAKING THE LAW WITH IRAN PAYMENT) Cruz-Lee letter: On 8/12, Senators Cruz (R-TX) and Lee (R-UT) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Lew, and Attorney General Lynch, questioning the legality of the administration’s $400 million payment to Iran. Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Perdue-Isakson-Kirk letter: On 8/8, Senators Perdue (R-GA), Isakson (R-GA), and Kirk (R-IL) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry demanding answers to a list of questions about the timing of the payment of $400 million to Iran. Press release is here.

(HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE) Toomey letter: On 8/8, Senator Toomey (R-PA) sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he “reinstate suspended sanctions on entities that have ties to Iran’s ballistic missile program” and closing with: “We must work together to repair the damage the JCPOA has already caused and stop Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing influence from spreading further around the world.”

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN – JUSTICE DEPT ANGLE) Grassley LetterOn 8/5, Senator Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch pressing for answers about the Justice Department’s involvement in the Obama administration’s $400 million cash payment to Iran that coincided with the release of four Americans who were detained in the country. The letter included a long list of questions and asked for a response by 8/19.  Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Hill letter On 8/5, Rep. Hill (R-AR) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry demanding answers to a list of questions about the Obama Administration’s $400 million payment to Iran (to be provided within 30 days).

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Cotton letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran (oops – I mean, to Secretaries Kerry and Lew):  On 8/3, Senator Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry and Treasury Secretary Lew demanding answers to a list of questions about the Obama Administration’s $400 million payment to Iran. Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Pittenger letterOn 8/3, Rep. Pittenger (R-NC) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry demanding an explanation for the timing of the Obama Administration’s $400 million payment to Iran. Press release is here.

(CHALLENGING $$ FOR IRAN) Chaffetz letter: On 8/3, Representative Chaffetz (R-UT) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry demanding answers to a long list of questions about the $400 million cash payment to Iran (to be answered in writing and with supporting documents not later than 5pm on 8/17) and putting the Secretary on notice that he will be called before the House Oversight Committee in a hearing to examine the issue. Press release is here.

(DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM PLOUGHSHARES FUND ABOUT IRAN) Pompeo letter: On 8/2 Rep. Pompeo (R-KS) sent a letter to Joe Cirincione, the President of the Ploughshares Fund, demanding answers about the group’s contributions to National Public Radio (NPR) at the time when the organization was working in support of the Iran nuclear deal. [Full disclosure: APN is proud to have worked with the Ploughshares Fund and other organizations in support of the JCPOA]. Press release is here. [Pompeo previously sent a letter on the same topic to the president of NPR].

($$ for ISRAELI MISSILE DEFENSE COOPERATION) Kirk-Gillibrand letter: On 7/26, Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Gillibrand (D-NY) led a letter, signed by 34 Senate colleagues, urging full funding for U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation as part of the FY17 NDAA. Press release is here.

(DOD, A GOVT CONTRACTOR, & IRAN) McCaskill letter: On 7/20, Senator McCaskill (R-MO) sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch, Director of DOD’s Defense Logistics Agency. The letter demands information about DOD’s relations with a Defense Contractor KGL under investigation for its relationship with Iran.

Press release is here.


9/21: The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance will hold a hearing entitled, “Terror Financing Risks of America’s $1.7 Billion Cash Payments to Iran.” Scheduled witnesses (so far) are: Michael Mukasey, Former Attorney General of the United States; and Eric S. Edelman, JINSA & Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

9/14: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a markup of HR 5931, the “Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act.” See Section 1, above, for details.

9/14: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, “Turkey After the July Coup Attempt.” Scheduled witnesses (so far) are: Nina Ognianova, Committee to Protect Journalists; Alan Makovsky, Center for American Progress; and Aaron Stein, Atlantic Council.

9/8: The House Financial Services Committee held a two-panel hearing entitled, “Fueling Terror: The Dangers of Ransom Payments to Iran.” Panel 1 was composed of Obama Administration officials: Lisa Grosh, Department of State Assistant Legal Advisor, Office of International Claims and Investment Disputes; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iranian Affairs, Christopher R. Backemeyer; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord, Treasury Department National Security Division; and Paul Ahern, Assistant General Counsel, Enforcement and Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury.  [NOTE: Bizarrely, the Committee has not posted the written testimony of ANY of the Obama Administration officials – all of whom would have been required to submit written testimony in advance to the Committee.  This seems rather convenient, given the Committee’s Post-Panel 1 press release, entitled, “Hensarling Grills Obama Administration Officials on Iran Cash Payment” and which cites not one word from the statements or responses from the Admin officials testifying.]  Panel 2 was composed of think tankers, 3/4 of whom presented testimony entirely consistent with the narrative set forth in the title of the hearing : Mark Dubowitz, FDD (statement); Michael Rubin, AEI (statement); Eric Lorber, Financial Integrity Network (statement); and Suzanne Maloney, Brookings (statement – the sole witness pushing back against the “ransom” narrative). The post-Panel 2 press release keeps the tradition of the post-panel 2 presser, citing all witnesses who agree with the framing provided by the committee, and pretended that the witness who offered a different perspective wasn’t there. Video of the hearing (the only way, apparently, you are going to hear anything about the Admin’s position), is here.

9/8: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy held a joint hearing entitled, “Eastern Mediterranean Energy: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Regional Priorities.” Witnesses were:  Amos Hochstein, Department of State(statement) and Jonathan Elkind, Department of Energy (statement). Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) press release (“Israeli and Cypriot Natural Gas Resources are Good for Regional Stability”) is here. Video of the hearing is here.

9/7: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Judgment Fund: Iran, Big Settlements, and the Lack of Transparency.” Witnesses were three legal experts: Prof. Paul Figley, American University College of Law (testimony); Jeffery Axelrad, the George Washington University Law School (testimony); and Neil Kinkof, Georgia State University College of Law (testimony). Given the title of the hearing (and the GOP narrative in which it was organized, it is interestingly to note that only one witness directly addressed payments to Iran (Figley, who suggests there was nothing wrong in them); the other two do not mention Iran at all in their testimony; and all three defend the importance of the Judgment Fund. Video of the hearing is here.  Wagner (R-MO) also released a press release crowing about how he stuck it to Obama Admin officials.

On the Record

Statements on Payments to Iran and related issues

Note: In a break from the normal “On the Record” format, the links in the section below are organized by date (or groups of dates), with members listed alphabetically for each period (for easier scanning). What is remarkable about this compilation is that during a Congressional recess, when members were dispersed throughout the country and many staff on vacation, so many GOP members seemed to be coming out with statements around the same time (and the list below is not exhaustive, including only those statements posted on members’ websites), and using very, very similar talking points. Indeed, it almost felt like there might be an organized effort – an echo chamber of sorts – to get anti-JCPOA members on the record and in the media articulating a very specific narrative. Hmmm.

September 6-8

Ayotte (R-NH) 9/8: Letter to SecDec Carter and DNI Clapper (see Section 2, above)

Ayotte (R-NH) 9/6: Letter to Obama (see Section 2, above)

Buchanan (R-FL) 9/7: Cash to Iran “Outrageous and Unacceptable”

Cotton (R-AR) 9/7: Cotton Statement on Obama Administration’s $1.7 billion Payment to Iran

Duffy (R-WI) 9/6: Duffy on Just Revealed $1.7 billion Cash Payment to Iran

Lankford (R-OK) 9/8: Letter to Obama (see Section 2, above)

Latta (R-OH) 9/8: Oped: Lack of American Leadership Has Led to Rising World Tensions (with focus on Iran)

Royce (R-CA) 9/7: Statement on $1.7 Billion Cash Payment to Iran

Smith (R-TX) 9/7: Media Downplays “Ransom Payment” To Iran

Wilson (R-SC) 9/8: Obama’s Cash Payments To Iran

Wilson (R-SC) 9/6: Obama’s Ransom Payment

September 2

Boozman (R-AR) 9/2: The Obama Administration Keeps Making Concessions to Iran

Fleming (R-LA) 9/2: Fleming Condemns Obama’s Secret Side Deals with Iran

Pompeo (R-KS) 9/2: Pompeo Readies Legislation on Iran Ransom Payment with Senator Rubio

September 1

Ayotte (R-NH) 9/1: Ayotte: Administration Helped Iran Dodge Nuclear Deal Requirements

Cruz (R-TX) 9/1: Sen. Cruz Op-Ed in National Review Online: ‘Why Are We Giving Money to Iran?’

Curbelo (R-FL) 9/1: Curbelo Condemns Administration’s Negotiations Surrounding Iran Deal

Gardner (R-CO) 9/1: Gardner Statement on Secret Iran Deal Exemptions

Garrett (R-NJ) 9/1: Garrett Statement on Report Detailing Secret Loopholes Given to Iran

Kirk (R-IL) 9/1: Kirk Statement on The Administration’s Secret Decision to Let Iran Violate Nuclear Deal Limits

Lankford (R-OK) 9/1: Report Raises Serious Concerns About Iran Nuclear Deal

August 20-29

Ayotte (R-NH) 8/25: Ayotte: Iran’s Aggression Increases Despite Nuclear Deal

Cole (R-OK) 8/29: Negotiating with Terrorists

Cotton (R-AR) 8/29: Cotton Statement on Reports that Iran has Deployed Russian-supplied S-300 Missile System at Fordow

Guinta (R-NH) 8/22: Rep. Frank Guinta Statement on Obama Administration Hostage Ransom to Iran

Kirk (R-IL) 8/29: Kirk Statement on Iran’s Installation of Destabilizing Russian Missiles at Once-Secret Nuclear Site

Lamborn (R-CO) 8/20: Statement on the Iran Ransom Scandal

Kirk (R-IL) 8/22: Kirk to Hold Hearing to Examine Iran Cash-for-Hostages Links to Terrorist Financing

Pittenger (R-NC) 8/25: Iran Continues Aggressive Behavior As President Obama Provides Terror-Sponsor With $1.7 Billion

Roskam (R-IL) 8/24: State Department Warns of Further Hostage-Taking by Iran

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 8/21: Iranian Foreign Minister’s Latin America Visit Should Be Setting Off Alarm Bells

Sasse (R-NE) 8/26: Sasse Warns Against “New Normal” With Iran

August 19

Coffman (R-CO) 8/19: Coffman Statement on Iran Ransom Payment

Hill (R-AR) 8/19: Hill Reacts to State Department’s Confirmation of $400 Million Ransom Payment to Iran

Katko (R-NY) 8/19: Rep. John Katko Statement on Payment to Iran

LaHood (R-IL) 8/19: Statement On Obama’s Ransom Payment To Iran

Latta (R-OH) 8/19: Latta Statement on Payment to Iran for American Hostages

Moran (R-KS) 8/19: Sen. Moran Statement on Iran Ransom Payment

Pittenger (R-NC) 8/19: Congressman Pittenger On Ransom Payment To Iran

Tillis (R-NC) 8/19: Tillis Statement On Obama Administration Ransom Payment To Iran

Tipton (R-CO) 8/19: Tipton Responds to Administration’s $400 Million Ransom Payment to Iran

August 18

Burr (R-NC) 8/18: Senate Intel Committee Chairman Burr Statement on State Dept. Admission that $400 Million Payment to Iran was Tied to Hostage Release

Comstock (R-VA) 8/18: Statement on Obama Administration’s Iran Ransom Payment

Cotton (R-AR) 8/18: Cotton Statement on Reports Confirming the U.S. held the $400 Million Payment to Iran Until Four Prisoners Were Released

Cotton (R-AR) 8/18: Cotton Statement on the State Department’s Confirmation that the $400 Million Payment to Iran was Contingent on the Release of Four Prisoners

Ernst (R-IA) 8/18: Ernst Statement on U.S. Payment of $400 Million to Iran Contingent upon Americans’ Release

Fischer (R-NE) 8/18: Fischer Statement on Ransom Payment to Iran

Hensarling (R-TX) 8/18: Hensarling Statement on State Department Admission That Payment to Iran Was Contingent on Release of Hostages

Kirk (R-IL) 8/18: Kirk Statement on More Proof that White House Made $400 Million Cash Ransom Payment to Iran

McCain (R-AZ) 8/18: McCain on Obama Admin’s $400M Ransom Payment to Iran

Portman (R-OH) 8/18: Portman Statement on the Administration’s Ransom Payment to Iran

Rubio (R-FL) 8/18: Rubio Statement on Obama Administration’s Admission Cash for Iran was Contingent on Release of Americans Held Hostage

Sasse (R-NH) 8/18: Sasse Comments on Iran Ransom

Scott (R-SC) 8/18: Scott Statement on $400 Million Ransom to Iran

Pompeo (R-KS) 8/18: $400m Ransom Payment to Iran Shameful, Puts U.S. Lives at Risk

Walorski (R-IN) 8/18: Walorski Statement on Administration Admitting Ransom Payment to Iran

Zeldin (R-NY) 8/18: Rep. Zeldin Statement on Obama Administration Reversing Story and Now Confirming the Obvious: $400 Million Cash Payment to Iran Was Connected to Simultaneous Release of American Hostages

Zeldin (R-NY) 8/18: Rep. Zeldin Statement on New Information re: U.S. Paying $400 Million Cash Ransom to Iran

August 7-17

Ayotte (R-NH) 8/17: Ayotte Statement on Russia-Iran Military Agreement

Cotton (R-AR) 8/9: Cotton Statement on the Obama Administration’s Stonewalling on $400 Million

Cotton (R-AR) 8/8: Cotton Op-Ed in USA Today “President Obama’s Policy has Emboldened Terrorists and ‘Made our Country Less Safe’”

Kirk (R-IL) 8/11: Kirk Statement on Iran’s Increasing Cyber and Missile Capabilities

Pittenger (R-NC) 8/10: Iran Payment “Enabled A Garden Snake To Become A Boa Constrictor”

Payment to Iran

Royce (R-CA) 8/7: Oped – A supreme leader’s ransom

August 4-5

Cotton (R-AR) 8/4: Cotton Statement on President Obama’s Remarks at the Pentagon

Davis (R-IL) 8/4: Statement on Obama Administration’s Reported Ransom Payment to Iran

Duncan (R-SC) 8/5: Congressman Duncan Blasts Obama Administration’s Cash Payments to Iran

Fischer (R-NE) 8/5: Fischer Statement on Administration’s Payment to Iran

Loudermilk (R-GA) 8/5: Iran Cannot Be Trusted

Perdue (R-GA) 8/4: Obama’s Dangerous Dealings With Iran Read Like A Movie Script; Calls on Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to denounce dangerous Iran deal

Rothfus (R-PA) 8/4: Statement on U.S. Cash Payments to Iran

Office of Speaker Ryan (R-WI) 8/5 (by Michael Shapiro): Definitely not ransom!

August 3

Ayotte (R-NH) 8/3: Ayotte Statement on Administration’s Secretive $400 Million Cash Ransom Payment to Iran

Blunt (R-MO) 8/3: Blunt Statement on Alarming New Report Detailing Obama Administration’s Ransom Payment to Iran

Burr (R-NC) 8/3: Senate Intel Chairman Burr Statement on Reported US Payments to Iran

Bucshon (R-IN) 8/3: Dr. Bucshon Echoes Concern with Administration’s Ransom Payment to Iran

Chaffetz (R-UT) 8/3: Letter to Secretary Kerry (See Section 2, above)

Cruz (R-TX) 8/3: Sen. Cruz Issues Statement on Obama Administration’s $400 Million Ransom Payment to Iran

Donovan (R-NY) 8/3: Statement from Congressman Dan Donovan on Cash Payment to Iran

Enzi (R-WY) 8/3: Enzi statement on Administration’s payment to Iran

Ernst (R-IA) 8/3: Ernst Statement on U.S. Payment of $400 Million to Iran

Hardy (R-NV) 8/3: Hardy: “The American People Aren’t Stupid” on Iran

Issa (R-CA) 8/3: Congressman Issa Responds to Administration’s Reported $400 Million Payment To Iran

Katko (R-NY) 8/3: Statement On Reported Payment To Iran

MacArthur (R-NJ) 8/3: MacArthur Responds to $400 Million Secret Airlift for Iran

Marchant (R-TX) 8/3: Marchant Condemns Obama’s Ransom Payment To Iran

McCain (R-AZ) 8/3: McCain on Obama Admin Sending  $400M to Iran

McCarthy (R-CA) 8/3: $400 Million in an Unmarked Cargo Plane

McCaul (R-TX) 8/3: Statement on Obama Administration Payment to Iranian Regime

Meeks (D-NY) 8/3: Statement on WSJ Iran-Hostage Report (“The WSJ report unfortunately spins a previously announced settlement of a U.S.- Iran dispute at the Hague as if it were a secret deal or ransom.  While that makes for sensational reporting, it distorts the facts.”) NOTE: This appears to be the ONLY statement from a Democratic member of Congress during this period (on any Congressional website) pushing back against the GOP’s “ransom” narrative.

Pittenger (R-NC) 8/3: Statement on Obama Administration Cash Payment To Iran

Pittinger (R-NC) 8/3: Letter to Secretary Kerry (See Section 2, above)

Poe (R-TX) 8/3: US Ransom Payments to Iran

Pompeo (R-KS) 8/3: Pompeo: Cash Transfer to Iran is Reminiscent of the Iran-Contra Scandal

Roskam (R-IL) 8/3: Roskam Statement on President Obama’s Ransom Payments to Iran

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 8/3: Obama’s Secret Ransom Payment to Iran Must Be Investigated; Congress Must Block Further Concessions to Regime

Rubio (R-FL) 8/3: Rubio to Introduce Legislation Stopping Obama’s Ransom Payment To Iran

Scalise (R-LA) 8/3: Scalise Statement on Pres. Obama’s Cash Delivery to Iran

Scott (R-SC) 8/3: Statement denouncing $400M payment to Iran

Walorski (R-IN) 8/3: Walorski Statement on Reported $400 Million Payment to Iran

Zeldin (R-NY) 8/3: Rep. Zeldin on Obama Admin. Airlifting $400 Million Ransom Payment to Iran

August 2

Kirk (R-IL) 8/2: Kirk Statement on White House’s Airlift of a $400 Million Ransom Payment to Iran

Pompeo (R-KS) 8/2: Pompeo: Ayatollah Demanding Even More Handouts from America in Iran Deal

Pompeo (R-KS) 8/2: Letter to President of Ploughshares (See Section 2, above)

Royce (R-CA) 8/2: Chairman Royce on Obama Admin Sending Plane Full of Cash to Iran

Statements in Issues Unrelated to Payments to Iran

Ellison (D-MN) and also here 9/6: Extensions of remarks expressing his opposition to HR 5631 and HR 4992 – anti-JCPOA bills passed by the House 7/14, when Ellison was absent

Coats (R-IN) 9/7: Calling for ending all aid to the Palestinians [“I am working with my colleagues to end American financial support for incarcerated terrorists or the families of these so-called martyrs. We will identify the amount of money that flows from the PA to the PLO for this purpose and cut U.S. assistance by that amount, at the very least… If this partial cutoff of U.S. aid is not sufficient to motivate the Palestinian Authority to end this immoral system of payments to terrorists, we should propose a complete suspension of financial assistance until they change their policy…”]

Corker (R-TN) 9/5: Corker Statement on Failure of Syria Peace Talks

Lieu (D-CA) 8/24: US arms sale to Saudi Arabia under fire from lawmakers

Office of Speaker Ryan (R-WI) 8/20: The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: Red Line in Syria

Rubio (R-FL) 8/18: Rubio Calls for U.S. to Suspend Assistance to Gaza Until Obama Administration Confirms Funds Not Flowing to Terrorist Group

Lieu (D-CA) 8/15: Statement On Civilian Deaths Caused By Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrike In Yemen

Lieu (D-CA) 8/12: Statement On Proposed Sale Of Tanks To Saudi Arabia

Rubio (R-FL) 8/10: Rubio Urges Obama Administration to Actively Defend Universal Human Right of Religious Freedom Around the World

Johnson (D-GA) 7/26: Rep. Johnson clarifies and apologizes for remarks on Israeli settlement enterprise

Graham (R-SC) 7/26: Graham on Israel and Defense Memorandum of Understanding [Money quote: “I wish President Obama would be as hard on Iran as he has been on Israel.”]

Photo: Ed Royce (R-CA)

About the Author


Lara Friedman is director of Policy and Government Relations for Americans for Peace Now. As a leading authority on US foreign policy in the Middle East, Israeli settlements policy, and Jerusalem, Ms. Friedman frequently meets and briefs Members of Congress, US Administration officials, foreign diplomats, and other members of the foreign policy community. She is a frequent resource for journalists and policymakers, and regularly publishes opinion and analysis pieces in the US and Israeli press. A former Foreign Service Officer, she served in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut, and is fluent in French, Spanish, and Arabic.

One Response to Congress Returns, Refocuses on Iran

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  1. avatar James Canning says:

    Foolish American politicians, eager to serve as stooges of the Israel lobby.

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