Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, spoke on the House floor opposing H.R. 5711, a bill that would undermine the Iran nuclear deal, thereby jeopardizing both U.S. and global security.
“I am particularly concerned that this bill comes at a time of deep global uncertainty about U.S. foreign policy," Waters said. "We have a President-elect whose talk on foreign policy has ranged from vague and contradictory in some areas to utterly incoherent elsewhere. He has inserted unpredictability into the international arena, questioned the value of U.S. alliances, and threatened the cornerstones of decades of American foreign policy leadership.”
The full text of Waters’ statement, as prepared for delivery, is below:
Mr. Chairman, I am disappointed that we are here yet again debating another Republican bill to undermine the Iran nuclear deal – a deal that, so far, has delivered on its principal goal of blocking Iran’s path to nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future. This is a dangerous move that, if enacted, would put U.S. and global security at risk.
Specifically, H.R. 5711 would prohibit the Treasury Secretary from authorizing any transaction by a U.S. financial institution to support the export of commercial planes to Iran. Doing so would violate a key component of the agreement in which the U.S. committed to allow the sales of these planes and the associated financial services necessary to support the sales.
Earlier this year, the Treasury Department issued a license to Boeing for the sale of 80 passenger planes to Iran valued at $17.6 billion and authorized U.S. financial institutions to engage in all transactions necessary to allow Boeing to receive payment for the sale. So this legislation not only puts the Boeing deal in the crosshairs by prohibiting it from conducting a lawful sale under the agreement, but it also places the viability of the nuclear deal itself in question. Moreover, this legislation would breach the “good faith” provision in the agreement, where all parties agreed not to undermine its successful implementation.
H.R. 5711 also includes language that prevents the Export-Import Bank from financing exports to Iran, which is a red herring because the Ex-Im Bank has not supported exports to Iran since the 1970s and is legally prohibited from doing so as long as Iran is a state sponsor of terror.
Notably, the bill removes the President’s national security waiver with regard to these restrictions, a move that denies the President the flexibility necessary to work with our allies to find the most effective ways of changing Iran’s behavior. The fact is, all previous Iran sanctions bills that have passed the House and become law have included a Presidential waiver that gives the President the flexibility to act quickly and maneuver when doing so serves U.S. national security interests.
Mr. Chairman, I am particularly concerned that this bill comes at a time of deep global uncertainty about U.S. foreign policy. We have a President-elect whose talk on foreign policy has ranged from vague and contradictory in some areas to utterly incoherent elsewhere. He has inserted unpredictability into the international arena, questioned the value of U.S. alliances, and threatened the cornerstones of decades of American foreign policy leadership.
Yet instead of reassuring the world that the United States is committed to working with our global allies to promote our collective security, House Republicans have decided to push another piece of legislation through the House to destabilize the agreement that is central to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. I do wonder why leadership decided to bring this bill to the floor now, in the lame-duck session, when they know the President will veto it. Perhaps my colleagues on the other side of the aisle know that in two short months, they will no longer have the luxury of legislating without consequences.
Come January, we will have a President who has called the Iran nuclear agreement “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Like most of his other nonsense policies, Mr. Trump has claimed he will either more strictly enforce the agreement, or negotiate a “much better deal”, or dismantle it altogether. We don’t know and he doesn’t know. So I am going to bet that under the Trump Administration, Republicans will not be so eager to move legislation to unravel this agreement because, like the rest of us, they do not know how Mr. Trump will govern and because they know there is no other reasonable approach to curbing Iran’s nuclear ambition short of military intervention.
I therefore urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill and sending a strong message to the President-elect and to our allies around the world that Democrats remain committed to a strong U.S. engagement in the world and will not tolerate any attempt to undermine the Iran nuclear deal or any of our other international arrangements that keep us safe.
With that, I reserve the balance of my time.