Murphy Casts Vote Supporting Ransom Payments To Iran

Following Patrick Murphy’s vote last night against legislation blocking ransom payments to Iran, a bill that included two provisions from Marco’s “No Ransom Payments Act,” the Rubio campaign released the following statement:

“Patrick Murphy’s unwillingness to stop ransom payments to Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, further proves his loyalty to President Obama’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. Earlier this month, Marco introduced legislation to stop these ransom payments because he knows that they are a direct threat to our national security and that of our allies like Israel. Patrick Murphy’s liberal foreign policy views show he can’t be trusted to keep Florida’s families safe.” – Michael Ahrens, Rubio spokesman

Last night, Murphy voted against the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, which includes two provisions from Marco’s Senate bill banning ransom payments

On September 22, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act. “This bill declares that it shall be the policy of the U.S. government not to pay ransom or release prisoners for the purpose of securing the release of U.S. citizens taken hostage abroad. The U.S. government is prohibited from providing promissory notes (including currency) issued by the U.S. government or by a foreign government to the government of Iran.”(H.R. 5931, Roll Call Vote #554, Passed 254-163, R 238-1, D 16-162, 9/22/16, Murphy Voted Nay; CRS Summary, Accessed 9/22/16)

The House legislation includes two direct provisions from Marco’s Senate bill. “The House bill, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act (H.R. 5931), includes two provisions from Rubio’s Senate bill. One requires sanctions against Iranians who kidnap or unjustly detain U.S. citizens, dual citizens, or permanent residents. The other provision codifies the prohibition on U.S. officials paying ransoms to those who kidnap or unjustly detain Americans, with an exception to allow the U.S. government to provide assistance to the families of hostages.” (Sen. Marco Rubio, “Rubio Applauds House Vote To Block Obama Administration’s Ransom Payments To Iran,” Press Release, 9/22/16)

  • Earlier this month, Rubio introduced the No Ransom Payments Act to prohibit these kinds of ransom payments to Iran. “Sen. Marco Rubio also introduced legislation that would prohibit those kinds of payments to Iran. The Florida Republican said the bill, ‘The No Ransom Payments Act,’ ‘will prevent this president or any future president from paying ransoms and ensure that American victims of Iranian terrorism are paid first, before the regime in Tehran can claim settlements.’ ‘The Obama administration’s ransom payment has become a source of bragging rights and extensive propaganda from the Iranian regime,’ Rubio wrote in an editorial published Wednesday in the Tampa Bay Times.” (Elise Labott and Tom Kludt, “Administration confirms two more payments to Iran, totaling $1.3 billion,” CNN, 9/7/16)
  • Marco penned an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times: “Ban ransom payments for hostages.”“I opposed the nuclear deal with Iran and have fought this administration’s endless concessions to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror. Now I’m fighting this outrageous ransom payment by introducing legislation today called The No Ransom Payments Act. My bill would forbid any future ransom payments for hostages. It would require Iran to return the $1.7 billion it received from the Obama administration, and it would forbid any future settlements of Iranian claims until Iran first pays the more than $55 billion awarded by U.S. courts to American victims of Iranian-backed terror, and to the Americans held hostage by Iran in 1979. The bill would also mandate sanctions againstIranians who hold or detain U.S. citizens. This is a precedent-setting matter that I believe deserves the full attention of Congress this month.” (Marco Rubio, Op-Ed, “Ban Ransom Payments For Hostages,” The Tampa Bay Times, 9/6/17)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman says the legislation is needed to address the dangerous precedent the Obama administration has set by making ransom payments to Iran.“The bill, from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., is explicitly aimed at ‘prohibiting future ransom payments to Iran,’ a move Royce said is needed to rein in the Obama administration and future governments. ‘It is not in the interest of the United States to have the regime have cold, hard cash,’ Royce said during the floor debate on his bill. He said Obama’s own Justice Department said it was worried about the optics of the payment. Why? Because when you do so, you can expect to get more of the same kind of action from a state like Iran,’ he said. Royce said Iran has already taken new U.S. hostages, actions that show the U.S. may have created a perverse incentive for Iran.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House votes to ban cash payments to Iran,” Washington Examiner, 9/22/16)

The Obama administration admitted that it paid $1.7 billion in cash payments to Iran, and that the first $400 million payment coincided with the release of hostages

According to The Associated Press, the Obama administration admitted that it paid Iran a total of $1.7 billion in cash payments. “The Obama administration acknowledged late Tuesdaythat its transfer of $1.7 billion to Iran earlier this year was made entirely in cash, using non-U.S. currency, as Republican critics of the transaction continued to denounce the payments. Treasury Department spokeswoman Dawn Selak said in a statement the cash payments were necessary because of the ‘effectiveness of U.S. and international sanctions,’ which isolated Iran from the international finance system. The $1.7 billion was the settlement of a decades-old arbitration claim between the U.S. and Iran. An initial $400 million of euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency was delivered on pallets Jan. 17, the same day Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners.”(Richard Lardner, “Us Payment Of $1.7 Billion To Iran Made Entirely In Cash,” The Associated Press, 9/6/16)

The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. officials have acknowledged the payment of the first $400 million coincided with Iran’s release of American prisoners and was used as leverage…” “The Obama administration followed up a planeload of $400 million in cash sent to Iran in January with two more such shipments in the next 19 days, totaling another $1.3 billion, according to congressional officials briefed by the U.S. State, Treasury and Justice departments. The cash payments—made in Swiss francs, euros and other currencies—settled a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal dating back to 1979. U.S. officials have acknowledged the payment of the first $400 million coincided with Iran’s release of American prisoners and was used as leverage to ensure they were flown out of Tehran’s Mehrabad on the morning of Jan. 17.” (Jay Solomon And Carol E. Lee, “U.S. Transferred $1.3 Billion More In Cash To Iran After Initial Payment,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/6/16)

Murphy has yet to give any more than a weak, one-word answer on the ransom payments

VIDEO: When pressed on the Obama administration’s ransom payment to Iran, Murphy gave only a one-word response: “concerning.” QUESTION: “What are your thoughts on the $400 million news that broke yesterday in payments to Iran that coincided with some hostages being released? Some critics are calling essentially a ‘random payment.’ What are your thoughts on that news that broke this morning?” MURPHY: “Concerning, quite frankly. I’m on the House Intelligence Committee and I’m looking forward to getting back to Washington to see – learning more about this, and you know, seeing that investigation and learning more about this.” QUESTION: “When you say ‘concerned’ you mean concerned that it could have perhaps that you would have been opposed to any ransom payment?” MURPHY: “I want to learn more about it.” (Patrick Murphy, Remarks, Orlando, FL, 8/4/16)

Despite Iran’s increased support for terrorism and threats against Israel, Murphy’s strong support for the Iran nuclear deal and President Obama’s dangerous concessions to Iran has not wavered

In August 2015, Murphy announced his support for the nuclear deal with Iran. “Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, a 2016 Senate candidate who said Friday he was ‘skeptical’ of President Barack Obama‘s nuclear deal with Iran, announced today that he supports the agreement. ‘This has been the toughest decision of my time in Congress,’ Murphy said in a statement released this afternoon. ‘The deal on my desk is flawed, but after searching my own soul and conscience, I have decided I will support this agreement as the best available option to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,’ Murphy said.” (The Palm Beach Post, 8/31/15)

Invoking Neville Chamberlain, Murphy declared that the Iran nuclear deal would ensure “peace in our time.” “Rep. Patrick Murphy, the Florida Democrat who is running to replace Sen. Marco Rubio, endorsed the Iran nuclear deal on Monday by saying it would help the cause of “peace in our time” — echoing the infamous words uttered by Neville Chamberlain after he struck a deal with Adolf Hitler. Many critics of the deal that President Obama cut with Iran, which strengthens a regime that has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, have likened it to when British Prime Minister Chamberlain agreed to allow Hitler to annex the Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia in 1938, promising that it would bring ‘peace for our time’ — only to see war ensue the following year. Defenders of the deal have reacted harshly and angrily to this characterization. But Murphy provided ammo to critics when he explained his backing of Obama’s Iran deal by saying, ‘This debate has proven to me that America and Israel are fortunate to have so many passionate, diverse voices who all want the same things: a nuclear-free Iran, a secure Israel, andpeace in our time. In the interest of all three, I will be supporting this deal and voting against a Resolution of Disapproval in September.’” (Philip Klein, “’Peace in our time’: Dem echoes Chamberlain in endorsing Iran deal,” Washington Examiner, 8/31/15)

In September 2015, Murphy opposed legislation that would have preventing President Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran. “Passage of the bill that would delay until Jan. 21, 2017, the authority of the president to waive, suspend, or reduce existing sanctions on Iran or on Iranian officials or individuals slated to be granted relief from sanctions under the Iran nuclear agreement.”(H R 3460, Roll Call Vote #494: Passed 247-186, R 245-0, D 2-186, 9/11/15, Murphy Voted Nay; CQ Summary, Accessed 6/26/16)

  • H.R. 3460 prevented President Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran. The measure would expire on president Obama’s successor’s first full day in office in January 2017.“The House on Friday rejected a resolution to approve the Iran nuclear deal, with the vote underscoring how controversial the accord has been with President Obama’s own party… After the resolution of approval failed, the House passed legislation 247-186 that would prevent Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran. That measure would expire on his successor’s first full day in office in January 2017.” (Christina Marcos, “House Rejects Obama’s Iran Deal,” The Hill’s Floor Action, 9/11/15)

In September 2015, Murphy voted against a resolution contending that President Obama failed to comply with Section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. “The resolution provides that the president has failed to fully comply with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (PL 114-17) and that the 60-day congressional review period established by that law therefore has not begun.” (H Res 411, Roll Call Vote #492: Passed 245-186, R 245-0, D 0-186, 9/10/15, Murphy Voted Nay; CQ Summary, Accessed 6/26/16)

  • H. Res. 411 contended that the President did not provide congress with all documents of the Iran nuclear deal, thereby violating the terms of the congressional review law.“The House passed a resolution Thursday contending that President Obama hasn’t provided Congress with all of the Iran deal documents, thereby violating the terms of the congressional review law. The party-line vote of 245-186 came a day after House GOP leaders recalibrated their strategy to reject the  Iran nuclear deal following a conservative revolt.” (Cristina Marcos, “House Votes To Accuse Obama Of Withholding Iran Documents,” The Hill’s Floor Action, 9/10/15)

In October 2015, Murphy voted against the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act.“Passage of a bill that would prohibit the president from waiving sanctions under the Iran Nuclear Agreement until Iran pays the legal terrorism-related judgment it owes. The president would be required to certify to Congress that the Iranian government has paid all outstanding judgments before Iran’s sanctions are lifted or its assets released.” (H R 3457, Roll Call Vote #533: Passed 251-173, R 241-0, D 10-173, 10/1/15, Murphy Voted Nay; CQ Summary, Accessed 6/26/16)

  • H.R. 3457 would “prevent President Obama from lifting any sanctions on Iran until the country pays court-ordered damages to American terror victims.” “The House passed legislation on Friday to prevent President Obama from lifting any sanctions on Iran until the country pays court-ordered damages to American terror victims. The vote of 251-173 comes after Capitol Hill Republicans were unable to override a veto threat earlier this month to reject the Iran nuclear deal.” (Cristina Marcos, “House Votes To Block Iran Sanctions Relief,” The Hill’s Floor Action, 10/1/15)
  • As of October 1, 2015, Iran owed about $43.5 billion in outstanding damages to American victims of Iranian terrorism. “U.S. courts have ordered Iran to compensate American terrorism victims who suffered in attacks linked to Tehran, such as the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut and the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Iran still owes about $43.5 billion in outstanding damages, according to the Congressional Research Service.” (Cristina Marcos, “House Votes To Block Iran Sanctions Relief,” The Hill’s Floor Action, 10/1/15)

On February 2, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act. “Passage of the bill that would restrict the president’s ability to lift sanctions on Iranian and other financial institutions, as called for by the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, by requiring various certifications to Congress. Specifically, it would prohibit the president from removing the foreign financial institutions from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control’s list of blocked nationals and persons until the president submits to Congress a certification that the institutions have not knowingly facilitated a significant transaction for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a foreign terrorist organization or anyone sanctioned in connection with Iran’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic-missile programs.” (H.R. 3662, Roll Call Vote # 54: Passed 246-181, 2/2/16, Murphy Voted Nay; CQ Summary, Accessed 6/26/16)

  • H.R. 3662 would prevent the lifting of sanctions on Iran “unless it certifies they aren’t affiliated with terrorism or ballistic missile development.” “Legislation to prevent the Obama administration from lifting sanctions on Iranian entities unless it certifies they aren’t affiliated with terrorism or ballistic missile development technically already passed in the House last month. On Tuesday, the bill’s convenient place as the last vote in a lengthy series gave more lawmakers a chance to vote on it. It passed largely along party lines on a vote of 246-181. All but three Democrats opposed the measure.” (Cristina Marcos, “House Conducts Do-Over Of Iran Sanctions Vote,” The Hill, 2/2/16)

On July 13, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 5119, the No 2H2O Act. (H.R. 5119, Roll Call #441, Passed 249-176: R 239-2, D 10-174, Murphy Voted No, 7/13/16)

  • H.R. 5119 would prevent the U.S. from purchasing heavy water from Iran, a component of some nuclear reactors. “The House passed a bill Wednesday preventing the United States from purchasing heavy water — a component of some nuclear reactors — from Iran. The bill from Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) would stop the federal government from replicating purchases like the one it made in April, when the U.S. bought 32 tons of heavy water from Iran. The bill passed 249-176. Heavy water is a component of some nuclear reactors. One of its applications, however, is its potential for combining with uranium to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Iran, under the terms of the nuclear deal reached with the U.S. and others a year ago this week, is required to reduce its supply of heavy water. The U.S.’s purchase of the material from the country this year was designed to help Iran follow through with that aspect of the deal.” (Devin Henry, “House Approves Bill Blocking Nuclear Material Purchases From Iran,” The Hill, 7/13/16)

On July 14, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 5631, The Iran Accountability Act of 2016. (H.R. 5631, Roll Call #467, Passed 246-179: R 238-4, D 8-175, Murphy Voted No, 7/14/16)

  • H.R. 5631 would require “the president to impose sanctions on any official affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and anyone who has assisted development of Iran’s ballistic missile program or been involved with human rights abuses.” “One of the measures approved Thursday requires the president to impose sanctions on any official affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and anyone who has assisted development of Iran’s ballistic missile program or been involved with human rights abuses. ” (Cristina Marcos, “House Votes To Enhance Iran Sanctions,” The Hill, 7/14/16)

On July 14, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 4992, United States Financial System Protection Act of 2016. (H.R. 4992, Roll Call #478, Passed 246-181: R 240-3, D 6-178, Murphy Voted No, 7/14/16)

  • H.R. 4992 would enhance the existing policy preventing Iran from accessing money through the U.S. financial system. “The House passed legislation on Thursday to block Iran’s access to the dollar and impose ballistic missile sanctions on the anniversary of the deal to curtail the country’s nuclear arsenal. … The other, authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), to enhance existing policy preventing Iran from accessing money through the U.S. financial system. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged Democrats this week to oppose the measures and uphold President Obama’s veto threats. ” (Cristina Marcos, “House Votes To Enhance Iran Sanctions,” The Hill, 7/14/16)

On September 21, 2016, Murphy voted against H.R. 5461, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act. 42 Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the legislation. (H.R. 5461, Roll Call Vote #536: Passed 282-143, R: 240-2, D: 42-141, 9/21/16, Murphy Voted Nay)

  • H.R. 5461, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, requires “the Treasury Department to publicly list the known assets of top Iranian political and military leaders.” “The House passed legislation on Wednesday requiring the Treasury Department to publicly list the known assets of top Iranian political and military leaders. The bill, approved in a 282-143 vote, is meant to impose more transparency into how Iran’s senior officials accumulate wealth, the legislation’s supporters said.” (Christina Marcos, “House Passes Bill Requiring Report On Iranian Leaders’ Assets,” The Hill’s Floor Action, 9/21/16)
  • The bipartisan legislation overwhelmingly passed, and “ensures businesses and financial institutions don’t inadvertently fund terrorism or become involved in money laundering. “The House passed a bill requiring the Department of Treasury to disclose the assets of Iran’s top political and military leaders in a 282-143 vote Wednesday. The Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, spearheaded by Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine, would force the agency to provide a report to Congress assets under control, how they were acquired and how they are being spent. Proponents of the measure said it ensures businesses and financial institutions don’t inadvertently fund terrorism or become involved in money laundering. ‘Iran’s top government leadership, including the Supreme Leader and the military and political leaders, have amassed substantial wealth from their tyrannical rule of their people. Reports have indicated these funds are being used to support and sponsor terrorism,’ Poliquin said in a statement. ‘I am proud Democrats and Republicans in the House acted today to move forward this important legislation to make these assets public so the world knows where the money is going.’” (Daily Caller, 9/21/16)

The post Murphy Casts Vote Supporting Ransom Payments To Iran appeared first on Marco Rubio for Senate.