GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions

GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions
© Greg Nash

House Republicans on Wednesday scored a procedural victory by successfully amending a spending bill to include language that would increase funding to strengthen Iran sanctions.

Thirty-seven Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the motion to commit to change the bill, led by Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Republican Tom Graves announces retirement from House Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms MORE (R-Ga.), adding an additional $10 million for the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The motion passed in a 226-195 vote.

“In yet another example of deep divisions among House Democrats, 37 of them just broke with their leadership to pass the Republican Motion to Recommit to increase the enforcement of sanctions on Iran,” Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night MORE (R-La.), said in a statement.

“It’s clear that even these 37 Democrats acknowledge their party’s Iran appeasement stance is wildly out of step with the views of the American public," she added.

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Other Democrats who voted for it included Reps. Susie LeeSuzanne (Susie) Kelley LeeMORE (Nev.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiMore than 200 lawmakers urge Supreme Court to 'reconsider' Roe v. Wade Democratic group to only endorse attorney general candidates who back abortion rights Democrats unveil impeachment procedures MORE (Ill.), David Loebsack (Iowa), Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaLawmakers warn Pentagon against reduction of US forces in Africa Tenth Congressional Black Caucus member backs Biden 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' MORE (Va.), Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiNJ lawmaker flips endorsement to Biden after Booker drops out House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap New Jersey Democrats slam Van Drew: 'He doesn't have a chance' MORE (N.J.), Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week MORE (Ga.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyBloomberg's congressional endorsers grow to three The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week MORE (Fla.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week House delivers impeachment articles to Senate Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall MORE (Minn.), Max RoseMax RoseBloomberg's congressional endorsers grow to three The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Biden picks up endorsement of early O'Rourke backer Sean Maloney MORE (N.Y.), Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderHouse Democrat pushes back against concerns that impeachment inquiry could spark political backlash Dem Congressman discusses plan to keep the house blue The Hill's Morning Report - New impeachment battle: Pompeo vs. House Dems MORE (Ill.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderGroup of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats MORE (Ore.), Kim SchrierKimberly (Kim) Merle SchrierThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade The Hill's Morning Report - Vulnerable Dems are backing Trump impeachment Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week MORE (Wash.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillHow the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment Democrats set to take historic step of impeaching Trump Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa Slotkin Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' MORE (Mich.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerHouse Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts House passes bills to gain upper hand in race to 5G The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (Va.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.) and Susan WildSusan WildThe biggest political upsets of the decade The Hill's Morning Report - Vulnerable Dems are backing Trump impeachment Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week MORE (Pa.).

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) advocated for amending the bill ahead of the vote, making the case that Treasury's anti-terrorism office could play an important role in pushing back on Iran’s aggression amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“This office plays a key role in countering our most critical national security threats by implementing sanctions. As a Green Beret, I have fought in the war on terror and can tell you that this office is vital to the safety of our nation and preventing war,” he said during debate. 

“In light of our current threats, this office requires an additional $10 million to accomplish its goals. This motion will implement sanctions policy towards Russia, North Korea, ISIS and particularly the Iranian regime,” he added.

Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyTransgender detainees need protection — a letter from lawmakers doesn't provide it Lawmakers to call on ICE to release all transgender detainees House votes to impeach Trump MORE (D-Ill.) pushed back, arguing that the Republican motion was hypocritical for GOP members to put forth because members of the party supported amendments that would have made cuts to the account. He pointed to an amendment offered by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.).

“How in the world can we take your MTR seriously?” he said on the floor, referring to the motion to recommit.

“Just a few moments ago on an amendment proposed by Mr. Banks from Indiana, you voted yes on two amendments that would cut this account by 14 percent, a cut of $23.5 million.” 

But despite Quigley’s pushback, Democratic leadership members were unable to whip enough lawmakers against the last-minute change.

Republicans have repeatedly utilized the procedural tool in an attempt to highlight divisions within the Democratic caucus. The passage of Wednesday’s motion marks the third time this year they’ve successfully picked off enough members across the aisle to make last-minute changes to a bill.

Top GOP lawmakers are looking to use the strategy to place moderate Democrats up for reelection next year in swing districts in a difficult position.

Republicans had their first success with the procedural move in February when they amended a bill on Yemen to include language condemning anti-Semitism.

Shortly after, they also managed to amend Democrats' landmark gun control bill to include language requiring that Immigration and Customs Enforcement be alerted if an immigrant without legal status tries to purchase a firearm.

Following the passage of the second motion, Democratic leaders attempted to crack down on members splitting with the party on the procedural votes, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' MORE (D-Calif.) warning would-be defectors that Democratic resources are best reserved for those who vote with the party, according to multiple media reports.

Meanwhile, three Republicans — Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashOvernight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall House votes to send impeachment articles to Senate Amash: Trump claim about US embassy threats 'seems to be totally made up' MORE (Mich.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold Massie2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week NY Times's Haberman: Trump 'surprised' Iranian strike wasn't 'more of a unifying event' MORE (Ky.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungRepublicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses GOP lawmaker head-butts MoveOn camera MORE (Alaska) — voted against the motion Wednesday.