Sanctions on Iran and Aid to Israel… “American Representatives Swim Against the Biden Current”

While U.S. President Joe Biden attempts to pressure Israel not to militarily retaliate against Iran’s attacks, the House of Representatives has a different stance.

On Sunday, the U.S. House of Representatives gathered more than a dozen new votes on bills imposing sanctions on Iran and its proxies, an action that, according to the American site Axios, “contradicts Biden‘s plea to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to retaliate militarily against Iran.”

According to the American site, this shift by Republicans towards voting on numerous bills comes as lawmakers from both parties pressure President Biden to take a tougher stance against Iran.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are scheduled to convene for the first time Monday evening ahead of the first vote this week to discuss the “recent Iranian aggression against Israel and supplementary defense funding,” according to an invitation obtained by Axios.

The bill would require the United States to “fully enforce” sanctions imposed on Iran and ensure they are not circumvented, by restricting Iranian imports and transactions between Iran and U.S. financial institutions, as well as imposing sanctions on Chinese companies buying oil from Iran.

Other bills target “groups designated as terrorists by the United States, especially Hamas,” as well as “resolutions urging the European Union to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and declaring the slogan (from the river to the sea) as antisemitic.”

Swimming Against the Biden Current

The three-page resolution, introduced by Republican Representative Tom Kinzinger, states that the House of Representatives “stands with Israel in its efforts to re-establish deterrence against Iran and its proxies.” It also affirms Israel’s right to respond to “Iranian aggression through military, diplomatic, economic, and other necessary means,” contrary to Biden‘s position urging Tel Aviv not to respond.

In a statement, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (Republican from Los Angeles) said the bills aim to “show our support for Israel and take action against Iran,” noting that “these bills… represent a comprehensive response to the Iranian threat by supporting Israel’s response to the attack, punishing Iranian leaders, cutting off their revenue sources, and targeting their partners and proxies.”

Although these bills will require a two-thirds majority to pass, under what is known as “suspension of the rules,” the most contentious issue is the potential vote on aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan – a subject that has seen significant partisan debate in recent months.

Aid Package

House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican from Los Angeles) said he would introduce a separate bill for Israel on the floor – along with the possibility of presenting an aid package for Ukraine with different compensations that could make it difficult to persuade Democrats.

Many Democrats, including Biden, have urged Johnson to introduce a Senate aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan worth $95 billion when the House of Representatives reconvenes on Monday. Biden emphasized this point during a call with Johnson and other congressional leaders on Sunday, according to a White House statement.

In November, House Republicans and a handful of Democrats passed an aid bill for Israel worth $14.3 billion, which included – to the frustration of Democrats – cuts to the IRS budget, but it stalled in the Senate.

Last February, Johnson attempted to pass an aid bill for Israel worth $17.6 billion, but failed to garner the necessary bipartisan support due to concerns it would undermine aid to Ukraine.

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