Senate Backs Rubio-Led Push for Tougher
Stance Against Hezbollah
By Jordain Carney
November 17, 2015
The Senate is backing a bipartisan push to get the Obama
administration to take a tougher line in going after Hezbollah and its
The Senate passed by unanimous consent Tuesday evening
legislation that aims to crackdown on the Lebanon-based group's access to money
and logistical support. The bill was put forth by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), who
is running for president, and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
The legislation would let the administration sanction any
banks that knowingly work with Hezbollah or supporters of the group. It would
also require the administration to hand over a report detailing foreign
financial institutions that are aiding the terrorist group or supporters.
Rubio said that the legislation would help "guarantee
that our government is focused on eliminating this terrorist group."
“We cannot afford to jeopardize our national security by
letting Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, continue to pose a direct
threat to us and our allies including Israel," he added. "It is time
for us to reveal the expansiveness of its dangerous network."
The bill would also require the administration to detail
what countries that group has support networks in, what steps the foreign
governments are taking to disrupt those networks, and how the administration is
encouraging other countries to do more.
Shaheen suggested that passing the legislation would also
send a signal to Iran, which has been accused of funding the group.
"The U.S. government must be relentless in disrupting Hezbollah's operations.
This legislation turns the screws on its network of support and sends a message
to Tehran that there will be zero tolerance for financing terrorism," she
The legislation would require the administration to
identify any Internet and telecommunications companies that knowingly contract
with al-Manar, a Hezbollah-affiliated TV station, as well as give to lawmakers a
list of which companies have been sanctioned and which have not.
The legislation would also require reports and briefings on
drug trafficking and transnational criminal activities by Hezbollah, and what
procedures would be needed to designate the group as foreign narcotics
trafficker and a "significant transnational criminal organization."
The legislation still needs to be passed by the House, with
a release from Rubio's office noting that the lower chamber "is expected to
consider the legislation in the coming days."