This bill strengthens sanctions against Hezbollah, increases congressional oversight on Hezbollah-related policies, and facilitates the application of designations to the group that would allow the U.S. to further undermine its international activities.
In terms of sanctions, the administration is authorized to ‘prohibit, or impose strict sanctions on’ any foreign financial institution’s efforts to open or maintain an account in the U.S. if the institution in question is knowingly doing business with Hezbollah or its affiliates (the administration is permitted a national security waiver on this provision for up to 180 days). Furthermore, the administration is required to brief Congress on the status of all satellite television and internet providers that distribute material from al-Manar TV, Hezbollah’s official television station. The administration is required to explain why any such providers had not been sanctioned.
Additionally, the administration is required to submit 2 reports to Congress, 1 on Hezbollah’s drug trafficking and another on transnational crime. Designating Hezbollah as either a narcotics trafficking and/or a transnational criminal organization would allow U.S. law enforcement agencies to pursue Hezbollah’s members in countries that had not recognized the group as a terrorist organization and generally provide law enforcement further power in countering Hezbollah’s efforts abroad.
The administration is also required to report to Congress on countries that support Hezbollah and on whether the State Dept.’s rewards program has helped obtain information on the group.
Also sponsored by Royce, a nearly identical bill passed in the House during the second session of the 113th Congress (see H.R. 4411 of 4/7/14 at congressionalmonitor.org).
9 cosponsors (6R, 3D).
See also: Senate version, H.R. 2297 of 5/13/15.