House Votes to Sanction Iran, Russia, and North Korea
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364). The bipartisan bill sanctions Iran, Russia, and North Korea for their dangerous and belligerent actions that undermine the United States and our allies.
On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“This bill represents broad bipartisan, House-Senate agreement that the United States must enforce tougher sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. I want to thank the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Engel, for his determined and excellent work on this legislation. This is a very important bill.
These three regimes, in different parts of the world, are threatening vital U.S. interests and destabilizing their neighbors. It is well past time that we forcefully respond.
Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has invaded its neighbor Ukraine, seizing its territory and destabilizing its government. It poses a threat to our NATO allies in Europe, as Moscow works to undermine democratic values with determination and sophistication. As U.S. intelligence agencies have made clear, this former KGB agent attempted to interfere with our own election. Left unchecked, Russia is sure to continue its aggression.
Putin’s forces continue to prop up the murderous Assad regime in Syria, prolonging a deadly conflict that has driven millions from their homes while enabling the use of chemical weapons and other systematic human rights abuses against the Syrian people.
The Russia sanctions in this bill are substantially similar to those that overwhelmingly passed the other body. They give the administration important economic and diplomatic leverage by targeting the things that matter to Vladimir Putin and his allies the most: their corrupt efforts to profit from the country’s oil wealth and their ability to sell weapons overseas.
To focus their impact, we clarified several provisions that could have inadvertently handed Russian companies control of global energy projects and impacted pipelines that our European allies rely on in an effort to end their dependence on Russian gas. This strengthens the bill.
To ensure these economic sanctions remain in place as long as Russian aggression continues, this bill empowers Congress to review and disapprove any sanctions relief. This strong oversight is necessary and appropriate. After all, it is Congress that the Constitution empowers to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
Mr. Speaker, Russia has found a willing partner in Iran. The regime’s Revolutionary Guards are fighting alongside Russian forces in Syria. At the same time, Tehran continues to threaten Israel by providing funding and advanced rockets to Hezbollah, its leading terrorist proxy. It continues to hold Americans hostage while developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
To strengthen the U.S response to the threat from Iran, this bill includes provisions originally introduced by my counterpart, Senator Corker, which increase sanctions on those involved in the regime’s human rights abuses, its support for terrorism, as well as its ballistic missile program.
Finally, I am proud that this bill includes the text of H.R. 1644, The Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, which we passed in May by a vote of 419-1. These provisions, which were strengthened in consultation with the other body, expand sanctions targeting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. They also go after those around the world who employ North Korean slave labor, a human rights abuse that is estimated to earn the regime millions in hard currency.
With every test, the Kim regime comes closer to being able to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile that is capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. We simply cannot pass up an opportunity to increase pressure in response to this threat.”