President must not unilaterally be able to revoke Foreign Terrorist Organizations designation

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Every elected member of our federal government takes a solemn oath, as outlined in the Constitution, to protect and defend the United States against all enemies. Protecting American freedom, our citizens, and our very democracy should never be caught in the crosshairs of policy differences or the political battles of the day.  

One of the tools the United States uses to identify and curtail the actions of bad actors around the world is to designate Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The State Department will tell you that such designations “play a critical role in our fight against terrorist and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities…” 

After President Biden took office — many lamented how historically poor his judgement was when it came to matters of foreign affairs. Even those who have served under both Republican and Democrat administrations, like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, went as far as to state that Joe Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” 

Secretary Gates has been proven right as this administration fumbles from one misstep to another. 

The botched Biden withdrawal of Afghanistan was one of most ill-fated and least tactical military operations I have seen in recent years. One that cost us one of our most precious assets — thirteen of our brave American servicemembers. Leaving $7 billion in U.S. military equipment in enemy hands to in turn be used against us. 

Now, Ukraine has evolved into one of the most heartbreaking humanitarian disasters we have seen in recent history.  

The ripples from both international crises have had an indelible impact on American life and have undoubtedly served to embolden our enemies. 

Reports now indicate that President Biden and his administration are considering lifting the FTO Designation on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a part of their newly negotiated Iran nuclear deal. 

We all know the president’s approval rating has plummeted. With the midterm elections just a few shorts months away, recent polling suggests the president is deeply unpopular in as many as 40 states. What could buoy that better than a win on the international stage with the administration’s new “Iran Deal.” Lifting the FTO designation on the IRGC, from the point of view of the Iranian regime, is a key negotiating point.  

As a Marine and veteran of Middle East peacekeeping operations in Beirut, I cannot stand by and allow that to happen. 

I know the horrors that terrorist groups like Hezbollah, which carried out a bombing that stole the lives of 241 Americans in uniform, can unleash without the use of every law designed to fight them. It is a nightmare scenario that the executive branch would unilaterally delist foreign terrorist organizations who have been proven to carry out acts of war on our U.S. troops, our nation, and allies. 

That’s why I’m working alongside my colleagues in the House and Senate to hold President Biden, or any president for that matter, accountable for the decision to sacrifice our freedom to score a political win. There is no situation in which the revocation of these designations should be used as a bargaining chip with nations who harbor and sponsor these foreign terrorist organizations. 

Proud, hardworking Americans across the nation who know how special our country is. That’s why they stand up and choose who they want to send to Washington to protect this Great Experiment and serve as a check on the executive branch. It’s a part of our duty to those same great Americans to pass legislation that preserves our system of government — in giving Congress the authority to block FTO revocations. 

By preserving and strengthening the systems of checks and balance our federal government has — we are in part meeting our foreign policy obligation as the world’s greatest nation. 

A Marine Lieutenant, Congressman Greg Pence represents Indiana’s 6th District. From Columbus, Ind., Pence is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Tags foreign terrorist organizations designation Greg Pence Joe Biden Robert Gates

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