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Rep. Garrett: Let’s Defund Iran’s Bad Deal

Teaneck—Right before Congress broke for its August recess, Congressman Scott Garrett (R-5-NJ) introduced H.R. 3273, the Prohibiting Assistance to Nuclear Iran Act. The bill seeks to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to Iran for either funding or securing its nuclear program.

Garrett explained by phone that the current “Bad Deal,” which was made between the P5+1 nations and Iran, with the expressed help and advocacy by President Obama, provides two distinct areas of funding assistance to Iran. “We are required to cooperate with them to modernize their reactors and centrifuges, and to help them purchase additional research. Second, the deal requires that the signatories are obligated to protect and secure the Iranian nuclear program from outside threats,” he said.

In no uncertain terms, the congressman shared what he thought about these funding provisions. “All of this is absolutely absurd, and prohibited under my legislation,” he told the Jewish Link.

During the August break, Rep. Garrett says he will be busy gathering co-sponsors to the legislation by circulating “Dear Colleague” letters designed to gain support for the bill. Co-sponsors can only be named when Congress is in session, so the bill does not yet have any named congressional supporters. “I have only begun the process of educating my colleagues on this bill,” he said. There is not yet a similar bill introduced in the Senate.

Rep. Garrett said that the ideas contained in his bill are simply one approach to dealing with the very bad situation the deal has produced. He maintained that he never favored the Menendez-Corker bill, the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which in essence legislated what was once a treaty, thus enabling President Barack Obama to have veto-power over any disapproval of the deal. Add to that the President went to the UN to have the deal approved first instead of asking Congress to ratify it like it would a treaty; those in Congress never imagined that they would be prevented from weighing in on the deal so entirely.

“The argument for that bill was that it was going to bring transparency,” Garrett said, indicating that the original intention of the nuclear review bill was to create a 60-day congressional review period before ratification, but in truth, all of Congress’s oversight committees would have had access to the deal anyway, which became public immediately. “When the deal was approved, Iran’s government even put it up on their website, or whatever,” Garrett said.

“That’s why I’ve drafted this bill. It’s apparent that President Obama is totally disregarding Congress on this. Most people in Congress do not think Iran is our ally. I know that Iran is not our ally. It would appear that President Obama is treating Iran more as our ally than he treats Israel, which is outright ridiculous,” Garrett said.

“We will hope for a veto-proof majority [two-thirds], but that’s still up in the air,” he said. Indeed, the website Politico reported this week that the vote to disapprove the Iran Deal currently has 218 votes, which is a majority but not yet veto-proof.

The bill to reject the Iran Deal, H.R. 64. was introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-39-Calif.) this week.

Offering a financial muzzling approach, Garrett said, is key to making sure that if the disapproval bill is vetoed, all is not lost. “This is a different approach we can take to rein in and control the terrible deal,” he said. Garrett added that he has hope of having his legislation included in other larger bills that might be passed as part of the regulatory process. “Sometimes legislation like this is passed as part of appropriations bills,” he said, though Garrett has in the past sometimes voted against appropriations bills for the “pork barrel spending” they sometimes include.

“There’s no pride here if these ideas are incorporated in other members’ bills. I think that one way or another these ideas could get into conference appropriations bills. That’s the power of Congress. We have always had that power,” Garrett added.

Garrett said one way to advocate on this would be to call your congressman (if Garrett is not your congressman), and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 3273, the Prohibiting Assistance to Nuclear Iran Act, and of course, he added, please continue to call New Jersey senators to discuss the “Bad Deal,” and urge them to vote against approval of the measure.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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