Fitzpatrick Votes Against Iran Deal
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) joined an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House Friday in voting against the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran [H.R. 4361]. Additionally, the House passed legislation [H.R. 3460] prohibiting the president from lifting congressionally approved sanctions on Iran
Speaking on the House floor prior to the vote, Fitzpatrick delivered the following remarks:
“Mr. Speaker, as we’ve heard so far during debate on the Iran Joint Plan of Action, there dozens of shortcomings and concerns when it comes to this Administration’s nuclear deal — and no doubt we will hear dozens more before all is said and done.
The more we study this agreement — Republican or Democrat — the clearer it is to see that it is does not measure up to its ultimate goal: To prevent a nuclear Iran. The essential restrictions on Iran’s key bomb-making technology sunset in as soon as 10 years — leaving an internationally recognized, industrial-scale nuclear program with breakout times shrinking down to nearly zero.
And that’s if Iran doesn’t cheat. But we’ll have a tough time knowing because what was “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iranian nuclear sites has now become “managed access” — leaving Iran as long as 24 days to scrub sites; enough time to nearly completely remove incriminating evidence of wrongdoing. Or the option of self-reporting compliance in places, like their military base at Parchin.
However, what this deal does accomplish is precipitate a “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East — a reality we’re already seeing as nations like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have begun building up their nuclear infrastructure in response.
Any of those details should be enough to reject this deal. But that would not even mention the most objectionable portion: that this good-faith agreement with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror frees up hundreds of billions of dollars in economic sanctions and frozen assets seemingly without any regard for what that money will be used for.
For the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to chair the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing — a bipartisan group established by both parties of the Financial Services Committee to look into the increasing ability for terror groups to fund and finance their actions, and evaluate the U.S. response to these challenges.
Specifically, the Task Force examined the impact of this nuclear agreement on Tehran’s state sponsorship of terror proxies across the region. What became abundantly clear was the influx of hundreds of billions of dollars to Iran authorized in this deal will increase that nation’s ability to continue regional destabilization through support of groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militias, the Houthis in Yemen, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus.
This deal goes about rolling back sanctions while expert witnesses have testified before our task force — even as recently as yesterday — advocating for increased sanctions. There’s a real disconnect here between what the experts tell us and what the Administration is doing.
Iran’s budget already features a nine-figure line item to support terrorism. And there is no doubt that the activities it funds will expand Iran’s radical efforts — a fact even acknowledged by the Administration following negotiations.
Mr. Speaker, what we have today is a bad deal; one that clears the way for a nuclear Iran, gravely endangers allies like Israel, and — with our blessing — makes an already volatile, unstable Middle East less safe by giving Tehran more power to fund its terror syndicates.
What is so troubling to me is that a number of my colleagues after two years of negotiations predicated on “’no deal’ being better than a ‘bad deal,’” have begrudgingly accepted a self-admitted “bad deal” solely because it’s better than “no deal.”
A better deal would include:
- Truly “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s entire nuclear program,
- A plan of action to oversee and manage any funds returning to Iran through sanctions relief or a return to the international banking community,
- The release of American prisoners improperly held by the regime, and
- Payment of the $22 billion in compensation owed by Iran to families of September 11th victims — including Bucks County residents. The court judgement should be paid before Iran receives any funds under this agreement.
I urge my colleagues to reconsider what the reality of this “bad deal” means for the safety of the world and the future of our nation’s foreign policy. I urge my colleagues to reject this deal because it is one that will have decades-long consequences to our national security.”