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- As Delivered -

WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following testimony in opposition to the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act (H.R. 3662) before the House Committee on Rules:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman and Ranking MemberI’m glad for the opportunity to offer my views on consideration of this bill, which the Foreign Affairs Committee took up last week.

“In short: I don’t believe this bill should come to the floor.  It doesn’t do what it claims to do because it isn’t a bipartisan bill.  We are capable on the Foreign Affairs Committee of crafting bipartisan legislation.  The Chairman and I have done this for the past three years.  In the summer of 2013, we passed the strongest sanctions bill on Iran, which passed our Committee unanimously and passed the floor 400 to 8.

“If we are serious about doing a bill like this, the only way we can do it is in a bipartisan fashion.  The sponsor of the bill is not from the Foreign Affairs Committee.  There are very few members of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the bill.  There are no Democrats on the bill.  And there was no input from the Democrats in terms of drafting the bill. So I really think we could do much better.  

“Everyone knows what I think about Iran.  I view Iran for what it is: the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and a destabilizing force across the Middle East.  I voted against the Iran deal.  I thought we made a mistake allowing Iran to continue its enrichment program during negotiations. 
“So when Congress had a chance to vote on the deal, I voted against it.  I opposed it.  But I was on the losing side of that debate.  And now the deal is in place.  Does it mean I suddenly trust Iran?  Of course not.

“But it does mean that we now have the responsibility to hold Iran to its word, to ensure that the deal is being enforced to the letter, and crack down on Iran’s other damaging behavior.

“That’s what we should do in a bipartisan bill.  We should craft it by members of our Committee both Republicans and Democrats.  We should be concentrating on holding Iran’s feet to the fire on its obligations under the JCPOA.  And concentrate on helping our ally Israel with a new Memorandum of Understanding and other things as well.  I think such a bill would be worthy of coming to the floor and voting on it.

“This bill doesn’t address any of the challenges.  It would make it impossible for the United States to meet its obligations under the JCPOA.  It would require to certify.  There are flaws in the bill—drafting flaws—that individuals and companies coming off the sanctions list have never engaged in sanctionable activity. 

“So for example, if we put a bank on the sanctions list a few years ago for funneling resources to Iran’s nuclear program, that bank could come off only on the sanctions list only if the President certified to Congress that it had never before funneled resources to support Iran’s WMD programs.  By definition, that would be impossible.  So simply put, that bill, the bill doesn’t make sense.

“You know again, I think that we should come back with a bill.   I hope the Chairman and I can sit down in the future and come back with a bill.  That we’ll do a bipartisan bill.  That will do everything that this bill purports to do, but doesn’t really do.

“We have now voted 62 times on repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act.  This is now the second time we voted to sabotage an agreement I didn’t like, but was made.  A decision was made.  I don’t want to vote on this 62 times like the Affordable Care Act. 

“We should be working together to craft a bill that does what it should do—hold Iran’s feet to the fire, help our ally Israel, and make sure that the United States puts its money where its mouth is.  We can re-impose sanctions on Iran and make it very difficult for them, because of their support of terrorism and all the other destabilizing things that they do.

“So I don’t believe this bill should come to the floor, and I hope that we can then pick up the pieces and put together a bill that can come to the floor.  That will pass.  That the President will sign.  And isn’t just used for political purpose.  But will really do something that’s positive.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”