Iran Sanctions Act passes both houses of Congress, 6/24/10

After much delay and languishing in conference since March of this year, H.R. 2194:Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 passed the House 412-12 and the Senate 99-0.

The full text of the bill can be seen here. The CBO estimates the cost of this bill to be a mere peanuts compared to what this administration has spent so far: about $15 million. $5 million to change the language of the underlying bill, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 and $10 million to implement the new bill. This bill would:

  • Require the President to immediately investigate a person once the United States receives credible information that they have supplied refined petroleum products to Iran or supported the domestic production of such products in Iran, and to determine within 180 days whether that person has in fact engaged in such sanctionable activity in Iran,
  • Prohibit any foreign exchange, banking, and property transaction with persons engaged in sanctionable activity in Iran unless the President determines it is vital to the national security interest of the United States, and
  • Extend the act’s sunset date from December 31, 2011, to December 31, 2016.

Those in the House voting NAY are:

Flake (R-AZ#6), Stark (D-CA#13), Lynch (D-MA#9), Conyers (D-MI#14), Hinchey (D-NY#22), Kucinich (D-OH#10), Blemenauer (D-OR#3), Duncan (R-TN#2), Paul (R-TX#14), McDermott (D-WA#7), Baldwin (D-WE#2), and Moore (D-WI#4).

All in the Senate voted YEA except for Byrd (D-WVA) who did not vote. Below is a video of Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) on the House floor before the vote:

Key notes of his words are:

My word of caution is directed both to my colleagues in Congress, though, and to this administration. It is important not only that we adopt the Iran sanctions bill today, it is important that this administration implement this legislation.

If Iran obtains a nuclear bomb, it will only be a matter of time before terrorist organizations around the globe have access to this technology.

It is also essential we consider this legislation in the wake of the failed leadership at the United Nations. The adoption of so-called ‘sanctions’ by the U.N. was nothing more than a hollow gesture which will do nothing except embolden Iran in its nuclear ambitions.

It is essential that President Obama cripple Iran’s energy and financial sectors in implementing this legislation.

The full text of the speech is here. Israel’s Anti-defamation League hailed the passage of the bill. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The United States continues to lead the international effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons using tough sanctions. The overwhelming approval by Congress affirms the strength of America’s political will and resolve to head off the Iranian nuclear threat and to pressure Iran to change course.

And Mr. Obama, in case you’ve forgotten the words you spoke in June of 2008 during your campaign, I’ll remind you here:

“I’ll do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Let’s hope Mr. Obama, this is one promise you do keep.

This bill must still be signed into law by Mr. Obama. Please see my previous post “Obama and Gates drop the ball on Iran” for more information on this bill.