House Republicans are plotting a legislative response to the White House’s delivery of $400 million to Iran on the same day Tehran freed four Americans prisoners, forcing Democrats to take a stand on an issue they’d prefer to not to talk about.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) is working on a proposal that would chide the administration for what Republicans say was a plain-and-simple ransom deal. But the measure would also prevent similar deals from happening in the future. The United States traditionally does not negotiate with terrorists, and the exchange of money for people, Republicans say, goes against that precedent and could create more hostage situations going forward.
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“The administration’s actions put American lives in jeopardy,” Royce said in a statement. “That’s why the Committee is working on legislation that would prevent another ransom payment from happening. No more hidden cash payments to this state sponsor of terrorism.”
The legislation has not yet been finalized, but House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the expected September vote in an email to members Wednesday afternoon. And a source familiar with what the panel is considering said they’re hoping the response will be more than a simple “sense of the House” resolution but a legislative change that would bar any money transfers for hostages from happening in the future.
The White House maintains that the deal was not a ransom payment.
Thus far, Democrats have been able to avoid weighing in on the matter since lawmakers have been out on summer recess since the news broke in early August. The vote, however, could change that, requiring them to go on record on the sensitive matter just a few weeks before the election.
The House will also vote on the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, which requires reporting on Iranian leaders’ financial …