"The goal of the legislation is to ensure that none of our assistance to Lebanon benefits Hezbollah in any way," Howard said. "Hezbollah is a terrorist group and a cancer on Lebanon. The Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act surgically targets this cancer and will strengthen the position of Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah."
The bill, H.R. 2215, clarifies that it is U.S. policy to support Lebanon, but oppose groups that "practice or support terrorism and use Lebanon as a base to instigate attacks of any kind against the United States, the West, and the State of Israel."
The bill prohibits all assistance to a "Hezbollah-dependent Lebanese government," unless the president certifies that Hezbollah has ceased all support for terrorism. Assistance can also be granted if it is found by the president that the Lebanese government has made "demonstrable progress" toward dismantling Hezbollah's tools of terrorism within the country.
Berman stressed that the bill includes exceptions to allow for humanitarian and other forms of assistance, and also gives the president the authority to waive the bill if doing so supports U.S. national security.
Other sponsors of the bill are House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).