Congress tells Joe not so fast on releasing billions to Iran

This took place on Thursday, but it’s looking increasingly real. In a move that the Daily Mail described as “humiliating” for Joe Biden, lawmakers cast a bipartisan vote to freeze the six billion dollars that the President had previously freed up for Iran as part of his hostage negotiation deal. The move drew the support of nearly every Republican but also attracted nearly 100 Democrats. Now it’s looking as if it might pass in the Senate as well. During a time when it’s been seeming as if common sense had been banned in Washington, we have lawmakers seemingly conceding that sending billions of dollars to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism might not be such a great idea.

President Biden is facing a humiliating foreign policy setback as $6 billion he used to leverage the release of five imprisoned Americans from Iran could be frozen.

Lawmakers including members of Biden’s own party voted on Thursday to approve a bill that would permanently freeze the funds, which were unfrozen by the White House in September as part of a controversial deal.

The bill, named the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act, passed in a 307 to 119 vote – which was approved by almost every Republican and 90 Democrats.

The money is being held in Qatar, where most negotiations between the West and terror groups take place these days. The reality is that Joe Biden had already “refrozen” the money after the October 7 Hamas terror attacks. Congress is now close to locking the door to those funds indefinitely.

Keep in mind that the money was originally leveraged to free five American hostages as well as five Iranian prisoners. But before the cash transfer was even complete, an even larger number of Americans were taken hostage by Hamas, which is almost entirely funded by Iran. In that sense, the United States was losing ground in the exchange, rather than getting something of value for the money.

Plenty of people were warning the Biden administration about this when the talks first began. This is why we’ve long had a rule about not negotiating with terrorists. If you pay to secure the release of hostages, you will inevitably wind up with more hostages because the terrorists see that their tactics are working. And that’s precisely where we are today.

We are currently dealing with Hamas through Israel and through proxies in Qatar. The real snake at the bottom of the barrel, however, has always been Iran. And that snake is showing up in more places than just the Gaza Strip. Only yesterday we learned of even more attacks on an American warship and some civilian cargo vessels by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. We wound up having to shoot down three military drones.

That is all the work of Iran also. They fund, arm, and support the Houthis just as they do Hamas. And those terror groups don’t make any major moves without getting approval first from Tehran via the Iranian Republican Guard. Pushing back and forth with the terrorists isn’t going to put an end to this maddening cycle. Israel doesn’t need us to fight Hamas for them, but we can and should be taking direct, forceful action to show Iran that they can be made to pay directly for their subversive actions. That might finally defuse the situation in the Middle East again, at least for a while.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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