Funding bill includes ban on Iran biz

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Language requiring U.S. government contractors to certify that they are not doing business with Iran was attached for the first time to appropriations bills.

The language, initiated by Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) drew support in March when it was revealed that the government had done at least $107 billion in business with such contractors in recent years.

Israel, Rothman and Kirk, all appropriators, joined Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, in an effort to attach the language to all 13 appropriations bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, it was attached for the first time to a bill seeking supplemental funding for the war. That bill was approved by the full committee and is now awaiting passage by the full House.  It was also attached in subcommittee to the foreign operations appropriations bill.

Using the language in appropriations bills, which authorize funding for government departments and agencies, severely restricts the administration’s ability to work around the requirement.

The language in the appropriations bills refers to the 1996 Iran sanctions bill. A much more restrictive sanctions package, taregting third parties that deal with Iran’s energy and finance sectors, passed overwhelmingly in bout House of Congress last week. President Obama signed it Thursday evening.

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