Scott Pushes Bill to Cement U.S. Sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate, emphasizing the need for the United States to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel. The Ranking Member also sought unanimous consent for passage of his bill, the Solidify Iran Sanctions Act (SISA), to make permanent energy and weapons sanctions in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996. The bill, if passed, would have cemented sanctions that restrict funding for Iran’s energy and weapons sectors, thereby curtailing the regime’s ability to finance terrorism and develop its nuclear program. The bill’s passage was blocked on the Senate floor. 

Today’s effort by the Ranking Member builds on his commitment to applying pressure on the Iranian regime. Yesterday, Ranking Member Scott introduced comprehensive legislation to address both immediate and future concerns regarding Iran and its funding of terrorism, and has called for the Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the $6 billion recently transferred to Iran and any sanctions gaps the United States might have with respect to Iran. Ranking Member Scott has also urged a Senate investigation into the matter.

Ranking Member Scott delivered remarks on the Senate floor prior to calling on the Senate to pass the Solidify Iran Sanctions Act:

                                                                                 Click here to watch Ranking Member Scott’s Senate Floor Remarks on SISA

Ranking Member Scott’s remarks as delivered:

Last Saturday, October the seventh, we saw evil personified. We saw the deadliest attack on the Jewish state since the Yom Kippur War. Over 1,400 dead Israelis. And for context, think of that, if that were America, it would be over 40,000 dead Americans. On top of that, Madam President, we’ve seen 30 Americans lose their lives because of the evil brought upon Israel. We saw Hamas, an evil terrorist organization, launch an unprecedented, unprovoked, undeniably devastating attack on the Jewish state. I can’t think of anything more evil than the images that we saw coming out of Israel – where grandmothers were taken captive. Where babies were burned alive. And where babies were beheaded. 

For what reason? For what reason did we see the atrocities and the evil brought upon a people? Simply because they were Jews. Hamas – their goal is to eliminate the Jewish state. But that’s not where they stop. They want to annihilate every single Jewish person on the planet. With more than 6 million living here at home in America. But they go one step further – they despise Western democracy. They want the elimination, the annihilation of our entire way of life. Fighting that war with a single-minded focus is exactly what we should expect from the Jewish people, from the State of Israel, from the Prime Minister – Prime Minister Netanyahu, he needs to have a single-minded focus.

But that is not the case. Because we have seen in the last 24 hours or so the emergence of a different kind of war that they now must fight. It is the war of misinformation. The disinformation, the misinformation war could be just as deadly if not more deadly than the actual attack we saw last Saturday, October the seventh. One might ask the question, why would I say that? Well, I would say that because immediately what we’ve seen since the devastation in Israel was Prime Minister Netanyahu sending the signal that they were coming into Gaza, giving people – Palestinians – a chance to find themselves out of harm’s way.

But the misinformation campaign takes a different turn, a different spin, a different direction. What is said was – that the hospital strike was, in fact, carried out by Israel. That misinformation was carried in the New York Times, the AP, and other news outlets in America. That misinformation campaign caused a summit in Jordan to be canceled. It caused President Biden’s meetings to be canceled. It caused protests at embassies around the globe.  Our embassies around the world felt the devastation of misinformation, of lies signaling to the world that now Israel must fight a different kind of war at the exact same time that they have a proportional response which is and should be wiping Hamas off the face of the map. We saw as a result of that misinformation war, Hezbollah mobilizing. We have seen very clearly an attempt to weaken Israel and their standing in the world.
Devastation after devastation. And then on top of that, we see the emergence of another deadly counter. Rather than waiting for the facts, these outlets carried the Hamas narrative, carrying the narrative of an evil lying terrorist organization. 

And on top of that, equally as devastating, is to see the divide within the House of Representatives, where the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats stand firm with our ally, Israel. But there are members in the Squad who have decided to continue spreading the propaganda of Hamas. Congresswoman Tlaib has yet to delete the tweet that says, “Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital, killing 500 Palestinians – doctors, children, patients – just like that.” Delete the tweet. We cannot have members of the United States Congress sending out and being an extension of the Hamas propaganda machine. It is despicable behavior from our elected representatives of the greatest nation on God’s green earth. Those members did not start their anti-Semitic comments on October the eighth. This started months and even years prior.

There is a cancer that is metastasizing on the radical extreme Left that has to be dealt with in America. I’ve said several times over the past several days that Psalms 122:6 is so important. That we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and those who do will prosper.

There is no doubt in my heart, there is no doubt in my mind that we find ourselves living in dangerous times in this world. Conflicts in Eastern Europe, now conflicts in the Middle East, and real threats in the Indo-Pacific. We need American mettle. We need American leadership. And we need it to be strong, defiant, clear, and undeniably the strongest force for good on the planet.

It’s one of the reasons why I made strong comments about the terrible decision, the unbelievable decision to release $6 billion for hostages. I said this during the Obama administration that paying $400 million for hostages would make more Americans less safe abroad and raise the price on every head. And now, with $6 billion being paid to Iran – Iran being the chief funder of Hamas – after the attacks, Hamas thanks Iran for the help. We do not need an administration to be complicit with such challenging and evil attacks on the Jewish state. 

That’s one reason why I seek, Madam President, I seek consent to pass my legislation the Solidify Iranian Sanctions Act. In 1996, we put in place sanctions on Iran. We did so in the sector of their energy sector because we understood that causing pain, causing pain would be an important and necessary component of keeping Iran in its place. To slow down, if not stop, the spread of terrorism. 

We had to act – I’m thankful – I’m thankful that in 1996 we did act. But that action is set to sunset. It is set to expire. We must keep those sanctions in place – without any question. I look at the support, I look at the support for my legislation. This legislation predates the attacks on the nation of Israel. This bill has support from both sides of the aisle. It is a commonsense step to make permanent the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, and support comes from both sides of the aisle, including the only Jewish mother in the Senate, Senator Rosen. 

This is one of the many steps we must take to restrain this regime from developing weapons that threaten safety and security around the world. I believe that if we want to respond to this brutality, if we want to respond to this evil, one of the ways that we can respond is by making permanent the sanctions on Iran.

I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs be discharged from further consideration of S.1390 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. I further ask that the bill be considered read a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.