This bill would establish the policy that the U.S. government does not pay ransom for the release of U.S. hostages taken abroad. It was introduced in response to the Obama administration’s payment of $400 m. to Iran in 1/2016, which happened to coincide with Tehran’s release of several U.S. prisoners. Republicans in Congress alleged that it was a ransom payment and fiercely criticized the Obama administration, but it was, in fact, a previously agreed-to payment resulting from separate negotiations over funds owed to Iran since 1979.
Specifically, this bill would prohibit the U.S. from providing monetary instruments or precious metals to Iran; require any settlements brought before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal to be paid on a case-by-case basis that does not violate the abovementioned prohibition; direct the president to submit, every 18 days for 3 years, a report on outstanding claims before the tribunal; and provide Congress notice at least 30 days prior to any payment to Iran in connection with a settlement agreement.
70 cosponsors (70R).
See also: S. 2452 of 1/20/16, H.R. 5949 of 9/7/16, and H.R. 5490 of 9/6/15.
Last major action: 9/22/15 passed in House by yea/nay vote, 254–163.