- As Delivered –
WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks in support of the Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act (H.R.3364) on the House floor:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation and I yield myself as much time as I might consume.
“I want to first of all thank colleagues on both sides of the aisle for all the hard work that’s gone into this legislation so far. I want to especially thank our Chairman Ed Royce who has been my partner for nearly 5 years. We have passed excellent legislation and the legislation today just adds to it, and it shows what you can do when you work in a bipartisan way. So, I want to thank the Chairman for all his hard work and all his courtesies.
“I support this bill. I certainly plan to vote for it. But it seems we may be on the floor before we ironed out all the differences with the other body. I hope that’s not the case.
“In particular, there have been issues with the North Korea sanctions—which already passed in the House and was another Royce-Engel bill—and frankly should have been taken up by the other body on a separate track. Instead it’s now put in this body. I hope we don’t face further delays when this bill gets back to the other house.
“Our job isn’t done obviously until we get this thing across the finish line. And we need to do that, because this bill is critical to our national security.
“It does far more than just send a message to leaders in Russia, Iran, and North Korea—it exacts a heavy price for their aggressive and destabilizing behavior.
“Just like the bill we already passed, this legislation would update and expand our sanctions on North Korea, closing loopholes that have allowed money to flow to the Kim regime, funding its illegal weapons program.
“It would crack down on the trading partners, banks, and shipping vessels that enable the regime, and go after the regime’s most lucrative enterprises, whether exported goods or the pilfered wages of North Korean laborers sent abroad to work.
“With respect to Iran, this bill would go after so many of the things Iran’s leaders do to drive violence and instability: from Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism, to the regime’s abhorrent human rights record and efforts to build up its military. I’ve said this again and again that we need to hold the regime’s feet to the fire on all these issues. This bill does exactly that.
“And finally, on Russia, this bill is a strong, direct response to Vladimir Putin’s efforts to undermine American democracy. It imposes new sanctions on those who want to do business with Putin’s cronies, or with Russia’s military, or intelligence. It strengthens existing sanctions for Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and armed intervention in Eastern Ukraine. It pushes back against Russia’s cyber-crimes, including the hacking of our election to help Donald Trump—a story which Congress and the Special Counsel are still trying to get to the bottom of—as well as Putin’s support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria.
“And it gives the Congress a strong oversight role in making sure that these Russia sanctions are not lifted prematurely.
“This Administration has shown over and over that they’re willing to cozy up to Putin. But here’s the truth: Russia is not our ally. Putin wants to harm the United States, splinter our alliances, and undermine western democracy. This Congress will not allow him to succeed.
“So I’m glad to support this bipartisan bill. I thank the Chairman once again. We need to keep working to make sure this bill gets to the President’s desk, and I reserve the balance of my time.”
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