WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted down a request to strengthen Iran sanctions in the Small Business Tax Cut Act.
The motion to recommit the legislation to the House Ways and Means Committee sought to deny tax deductions for businesses that are in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 or the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.
In a procedural vote April 19 mostly along party lines, the motion failed, 229-179. One Republican supported the motion and two Democrats opposed it. The Small Business Tax Cut Act calls for a 20 percent tax deduction for small businesses.
Late last year, the House voted down two motions to recommit that would have strengthened legislation with further punishments on companies involved with Iran.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) told JTA in an interview that he introduced the amendment to the Small Business Tax Cut Act in order to prevent businesses that continue to be involved with Iran’s energy sector from receiving the deduction from the government.
“My amendment simply said that if a company is subject to sanctions by the executive branch for contributing to Iran’s energy sector, that same company should not be rewarded by the U.S. government,” he said.
A GOP adviser familiar with sanctions laws said motions to recommit were "partisan procedural games." Republicans see motions to recommit as a a bid by Democrats to frustrate the GOP legislative agenda.
In past instances, Republicans have said that existing law already ensures that companies with Iran ties will not benefit from such tax breaks.