Congress

Democrats break rank to vote in favor of Republican motion to recommit

The measure would help enforce sanctions on Iran

Wikipedia

Thirty-seven Democrats broke rank on Wednesday, voting in favor of a Republican motion to recommit that adds millions of dollars in funding to government agencies enforcing sanctions on Iran.

WHAT’S GOING ON: The high number of Democrats helped secure a victory for Republicans to pass the measure, which increases funding by $10 million to the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to support enforcement of sanctions on Iran. The measure was attached to an appropriations bill on financial and government services, which also passed. The bill can proceed even with the last minute addition of the MTR, a move that can typically stall legislation by sending it back to committee. This assurance likely encouraged Democrats to vote in favor, despite typically being told by leadership to vote against such measures because they occur outside the typical committee process. 

WHY IT MATTERS: President Trump imposed new economic sanctions on Iran on Monday, in retaliation for the downing of an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz. The sanctions, which target the ability of senior Iranian officials to access international banks or finances, are criticized for being symbolic in nature as the targeted individuals are likely already cut off from these systems. 

INSIDER VIEW: “I think people realize it’s critical that we continue to tighten the grip on Iran,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), who voted in favor of the Republican MTR, tells Jewish Insider.

The Majority party is typically discouraged from voting for an MTR introduced by the minority because it goes outside the typical committee process. 

Republicans have managed to pull Democrats to vote in favor of their MTRs in previous cases, notably when the text is condemning antisemitism or the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Yet few gain enough support to pass. 

“I looked at this and said ‘this is smart, we should do this.’ And I think a lot of people looked at it and said this makes sense,” Gottheimer said.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), who voted in favor of the measure, said in a statement to JI: “Iran’s rhetoric and recent actions endanger international security. I support stronger enforcement of sanctions on Iran to exert maximum economic pressure and defund aggressive activities meant to harm America and our ally Israel.”

The 37 Democrats who voted in favor include: Reps. Cynthia Axne (D-IA); Anthony Brindisi (D-NY); Gil Cisneros (D-CA); Angie Craig (D-MN); Charlie Crist (D-FL); Jason Crow (D-CO); Joe Cunningham (D-SC); Antonio Delgado (D-NY); Abby Finkenauer (D-IA); Jared Golden (D-ME); Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX); Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); Josh Harder (D-CA); Kendra Horn (D-OK); Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA); Andy Kim (D-NJ); Conor Lamb (D-PA); Susie Lee (D-NV); Dan Lipinski (D-IL); Dave Loebsack (D-IA); Elaine Luria (D-VA); Tom Malinowski (D-NJ); Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Ben McAdams (D-UT); Lucy McBath (D-GA); Stephanie Murphy (D-FL); Collin Peterson (D-MN); Max Rose (D-NY); Brad Schneider (D-IL); Kurt Schrader (D-OR); Kim Schrier (D-WA); Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ); Elissa Slotkin (D-MI); Abigail Spanberger (D-VA); Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM); Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and Susan Wild (D-PA).

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