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The Senate is backing a bipartisan push to get the Obama administration to take a tougher line in going after Hezbollah and its supporters.
The Senate passed by unanimous consent Tuesday evening legislation that aims to crackdown on the Lebanon-based group's access to money and logistical support. The bill was put forth by Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioThe ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Graham to roll out extension of Obama immigration program Trump and Cuba: A murky future MORE (R-Fla), who is running for president, and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Tech: Venture capitalists' message to Trump | Bitcoin site ordered to give IRS data | Broadband gets faster Dem senator: Hold hearing on Russian interference in election Scott Brown suggests voter fraud in NH without evidence MORE (D-N.H.).
The legislation would let the administration sanction any banks that knowingly work with Hezbollah or supporters of the group. It would also require the administration to hand over a report detailing foreign financial institutions that are aiding the terrorist group or supporters.
Rubio said that the legislation would help "guarantee that our government is focused on eliminating this terrorist group."
“We cannot afford to jeopardize our national security by letting Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, continue to pose a direct threat to us and our allies including Israel," he added. "It is time for us to reveal the expansiveness of its dangerous network."
The bill would also require the administration to detail what countries that group has support networks in, what steps the foreign governments are taking to disrupt those networks, and how the administration is encouraging other countries to do more.
Shaheen suggested that passing the legislation would also send a signal to Iran, which has been accused of funding the group.
"The U.S. government must be relentless in disrupting Hezbollah's operations. This legislation turns the screws on its network of support and sends a message to Tehran that there will be zero tolerance for financing terrorism," she said.
The legislation would require the administration to identify any Internet and telecommunications companies that knowingly contract with al-Manar, a Hezbollah-affiliated TV station, as well as give to lawmakers a list of which companies have been sanctioned and which have not.
The legislation would also require reports and briefings on drug trafficking and transnational criminal activities by Hezbollah, and what procedures would be needed to designate the group as foreign narcotics trafficker and a "significant transnational criminal organization."
The legislation still needs to be passed by the House, with a release from Rubio's office noting that the lower chamber "is expected to consider the legislation in the coming days."