– As Delivered –
WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 1698):
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
“Let me thank our Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, my friend Ed Royce of California, for his work moving this bill. I was pleased to join him as the lead Democratic cosponsor when we introduced this bill in March of this year.
“I stand by his entire statement that he’s just made. We have an absolute meeting of the minds on this bill, and that is why we were able to get 323 cosponsors on both sides of the aisle because people understand and realize the threat that Iran poses to us and to the world and to our allies.
“The Foreign Affairs Committee has been hard at work this year devising new tools and approaches for dealing with the threat of Iran. There’s no doubt that Iran must be one of our major priorities in our foreign policy. The world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism, a serial abuser of human rights, a lifeline for the murderous Assad regime in Syria, and the challenge we’re dealing with today: Iran’s illicit development of ballistic missiles.
“The Chairman and I share the view that when it comes to the nuclear deal—which we both opposed—the best path forward is to ‘enforce the hell’ out of it, even while we work to hold Iran’s feet to the fire on all these other harmful activities.
“We passed a tough sanctions bill last summer to crack down on Iran—as well as North Korea and Russia. While the bill before us today basically contains very similar provisions which we dealt with then, and as the Chairman explained we go one step further here, I’m always eager to find even more ways to dial up pressure on the regime in Tehran, which is a malevolent regime; which is a regime that sponsors terrorism; which is a regime that is hostile to the United States, hostile to our ally Israel, and hostile to our other allies in the Middle East.
“But I worry that the Administration isn’t taking this problem seriously. So far, the White House hasn’t fully implemented the previous bill we sent to the President.
“The White House’s approach to the nuclear deal sends a bad message to allies and adversaries around the world that the United States might not live up to its word.
“And rather than extracting more concessions with Iran—which I believe may be possible by working hard to build a strong, multilateral coalition—the course of this may instead push Iran to leave the deal and resume work on a bomb, and we can never allow that to happen.
“So I’m happy that we keep passing the sanction bills. But Congress’s role can only go so far. It’s up to the Administration to lay out its goals, devise a strategy, and implement the tough sanctions Congress has passed.
“It’s more than 60 days since we passed the sanctions bill and the President has not implemented it. And according to the bill, which the President signed, it was supposed to be implemented within 60 days.
“And so it sends a mixed message that talking tough is not enough. If Congress sends a bill to the White House and the President signs it, it really should be implemented.
“So I want to urge the President and the Administration to listen to this Congress in a bipartisan way. We passed this bill. It needs to be implemented. And this bill needs to be passed and implemented again.
“In the meantime, I’m happy to support this bill. I think this shows that we need to work together when it comes to Iran—in a bipartisan way—to show that there’s really not a shred of a difference, that we will not stand for Iran’s aggression, we will not stand for the Mullah’s threatening us, we will not stand for Iran stomping on its own people.
“So I again thank the Chairman for his leadership on this issue. I urge my friends on both sides of the aisle to support it. And I reserve the balance of my time.”
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