House lawmakers Thursday passed a bill by a 307-119 vote to force the Biden administration to permanently freeze the $6 billion in funds that it opened to Iran in exchange for the release of five American prisoners.
Ninety Democrats joined with almost all Republicans to pass the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reports The Hill.
Meanwhile, 118 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, voted against the measure.
The deal has been under fire since it was announced in August, with Republicans accusing the administration of enabling Iran, which they view as a terrorist regime, to arrest Americans and take aggressive action against the United States overseas.
Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas, argued on the House floor Thursday that by making the deal, President Joe Biden signaled he would "reward hostage-taking."
"There is only one language that is understood by our adversaries. That is strength," he said.
The administration has defended the decision to release the money saying it was necessary to secure the release of the five Americans.
It has also said the money can only be used for humanitarian reasons, but Iran has said it will use the money as it sees fit.
The deal has come under fire from Republicans after the Iranian-backed Hamas organization invaded Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages.
Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, insisted that the funds would not be used for "nefarious purposes" and that Iran hasn't spent any of it.
He also said that Biden "did the right thing" by releasing the money to secure the detained Americans' freedom.
But McCaul said it's "naive" to think Iran would only use the money for humanitarian reasons, and suggested the administration unfroze the funds to revive an agreement with Iran on the development of nuclear weapons, which the White House has denied.
The bill includes amendments that condemn Hamas and other Iranian-backed groups for the use of human shields and call on U.S. allies in the region to condemn such groups for antisemitism.
Republicans also passed one amendment to ban the use of U.S. funds for Iran, and a second one stating that Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen benefit from the Biden administration's failure to condemn them.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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