Designed to undermine a key ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Asad and to pressure Iran by way of its proxy, this bill would broaden sanctions against Hizballah, give it 2 new legal designations, and establish a procedure for enforcing existing restrictions on al-Manar TV, the Lebanese television station affiliated with Hizballah that the U.S. labeled a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity’ in 2006.
Specifically, new sanctions would be instituted against foreign banks and financial institutions that engage in business with Hizballah, allowing the Treasury Dept. to target those organizations. It would also require the Obama administration to submit a list of satellite television providers that carry al-Manar TV and to justify any decision not to enforce sanctions on each of those providers. Finally, the Obama administration would be required to submit 2 reports to Congress, 1 each on Hizballah’s drug trafficking and transnational crime. These reports would certify whether or not Hizballah meets the criteria for being designated a narcotics trafficking and/or a transnational criminal organization; each designation would trigger further sanctions.
This bill was devised by Reps. Meadows and Brad Schneider (D-IL), both members of the House Foreign Affairs Comm., with the support of chair Ed Royce (R-CA) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-NY).
During the House Foreign Affairs Comm.’s consideration of this bill on 6/26, Royce proposed an amendment stripping the bill of a series of nonbinding ‘findings.’ Critics of the original draft said that the findings in question could have destabilized Lebanon because they stipulated, inter alia, that Hizballah’s global financial networks allowed it to consolidate power within Lebanon.
After the House Foreign Affairs Comm. passed the bill by voice vote on 6/26, AIPAC issued a press release cheering the measure and added it as a ‘legislative priority’ on their website, along with the Senate companion measure.
321 cosponsors (193R, 128D).
See also: similar bill S. 2329 of 5/13/14.
Last major action: 7/22/14 Passed in the House by yea/nay vote, 404–0.