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 ScalisePelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid House GOP whip team seeks to get Republicans behind Senate coronavirus bill 14 things to know today about coronavirus 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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Democratic Reps. Cindy AxneCindy AxneDemocrats blast consumer bureau over student loan oversight agreement with DeVos On The Trail: Anxious, excited Iowa Democrats face decision day Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for final vote on impeachment; 2020 Democrats make final push before Iowa causes MORE (Iowa), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (Calif.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristBiden rise calms Democratic jitters Mnuchin details IRS challenges with cash-only marijuana businesses Democrats gear up for State of the Union protests as impeachment lingers MORE (Fla.), Jason CrowJason CrowTrump set to confront his impeachment foes Democratic impeachment manager shares quote from "Harry Potter's" Dumbledore during trial Impeachment manager dismisses concerns Schiff alienated key Republican votes: 'This isn't about any one person' MORE (Colo.), Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamCapitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing 16 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE (S.C.), Antonio DelgadoAntonio Ramon DelgadoHispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements M ad buy praises swing-district Democrats' environmental work Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters MORE (N.Y.), Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Buttigieg, Sanders ahead in Iowa debacle Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa Biden announces statewide bus tour ahead of Iowa caucuses MORE (Iowa), Jared Golden (Maine), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerNJ lawmaker tests negative for COVID-19 On The Money: Pelosi announces deal over coronavirus package | Questions remain about Trump's support | Trump declares national emergency | Stocks rally to close out wild week Lawmakers call on IRS to push back tax filing deadline MORE (N.J.), Josh Harder (Calif.), Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornOvernight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers Overnight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops MORE (Okla.), Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.), Andy Kim (N.J.) and Conor Lamb (Pa.) all bucked party leadership in supporting the motion.

Other Democrats who voted for it included Reps. Susie LeeSuzanne (Susie) Kelley LeeMORE (Nev.), Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiThe Hill's Campaign Report: Campaigns scale back amid coronavirus threat Dan Lipinski defeated in Illinois House primary Ocasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements MORE (Ill.), David Loebsack (Iowa), Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops 5 states to watch on Super Tuesday Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden MORE (Va.), Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiDemocrats eye remote voting options Hispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements Safety in sick leave MORE (N.J.), Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathBrady PAC endorses Biden, plans to spend million in 2020 Biden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins Warren endorsed by Black Lives Matter co-founder's Black to the Future Action Fund MORE (Ga.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Sunday shows preview: State governors and top medical officials prepare for next week of COVID-19 response Members of House GOP leadership self-quarantining after first lawmakers test positive MORE (Fla.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Pelosi: House 'not prepared' to vote remotely on coronavirus relief bill Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection MORE (Minn.), Max RoseMax RoseDemocratic lawmaker on stimulus vote delay: 'There will be blood on Thomas Massie's hands' Navy hospital ship deploying to New York to help with coronavirus crisis Overnight Defense: Pentagon steps up response to coronavirus | HHS to receive masks, ventilators | Military to open labs to virus testing | Outbreak adds to rising US, Iran tensions MORE (N.Y.), Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderIllinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Durbin endorses Biden: He 'can start to heal the wounds of this divided nation' Duckworth endorses Biden ahead of Super Tuesday MORE (Ill.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation Group of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report MORE (Ore.), Kim SchrierKimberly (Kim) Merle SchrierOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Giffords gun reform group backs eight 'strong women' in House reelection bids MORE (Wash.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillBiden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins Elbow bumps, Spock salutes: How Congress is dealing with coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal amid coronavirus threat | Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol | Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint MORE (N.J.), Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinStates see surge of scams, price-gouging tied to pandemic Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Sanders looks to regain momentum in must-win Michigan MORE (Mich.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerJuan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Security contractor Erik Prince reportedly recruited ex-spies to help Project Veritas infiltrate liberal groups Hillicon Valley: Barr offers principles to prevent online child exploitation | Facebook removes misleading Trump census ads | House passes bill banning TSA use of TikTok MORE (Va.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.) and Susan WildSusan WildDemocratic congresswomen wear white to Trump's address in honor of suffrage movement Democrats gear up for State of the Union protests as impeachment lingers Giffords gun reform group backs eight 'strong women' in House reelection bids 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 QuigleyIllinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Progressive groups push Supreme Court to livestream arguments during coronavirus shutdown Key Democrat urges Supreme Court to livestream oral arguments 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 PelosiMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency 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 AmashCOVID-19, Bill Barr and the American authoritarian tradition Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Amash calls stimulus package 'a raw deal' for 'those who need the most help' MORE (Mich.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing Overnight Defense: Trump signs T coronavirus relief package | What's in it for defense | Trump uses defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | Hospital ship arrives in Los Angeles MORE (Ky.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungDon Young dismissed 'beer virus,' told seniors to 'go forth with everyday activities' Pelosi stands firm amid calls to close Capitol Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (Alaska) — voted against the motion Wednesday.