The US House of representatives cleared legislation on Wednesday to enhance sanctions against Hezbollah and its supporters.
In a 425-0 vote, the House approved slapping mandatory sanctions on banks found to be knowingly handling transactions with Hezbollah. The Senate passed a companion bill authored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) by unanimous consent last month.
“We need to send a clear message to companies getting tangled up with this terrorist group. And that message is: Walk away, or face the consequences of the United States of America,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The measure would direct the Obama administration to report on the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group’s drug trafficking and organized crime activities, as well as outline its global support networks.
It would also require the administration to determine any telecommunications companies that contract with Al-Manar, a TV station affiliated with Hezbollah.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said the measure would further send a message to the Iranian government, which is the primary backer of Hezbollah.
“This legislation represents an important first step in pushing back against Iran and Hezbollah and repairing the damage that the administration’s sanctions relief for Iran has done to our national security,” Royce said.
The provisions laid out in the bill would only end once Hezbollah is no longer listed as a terrorist organization.