(House of Representatives - October 25, 2017)

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[Pages H8191-H8194]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree 
to the resolution (H. Res. 359) urging the European Union to designate 
Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase 
pressure on it and its members, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 359

       Whereas in July 2012 a Hizballah terror attack in Bulgaria 
     killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian;
       Whereas in March 2013 a Hizballah operative in Cyprus was 
     convicted of planning terror attacks after admitting he was a 
     member of Hizballah, was trained in the use of weapons, and 
     used a dual Swedish-Lebanese passport to travel around Europe 
     on missions as a courier and scout for Hizballah;
       Whereas though such Hizballah operative was convicted on 
     criminal-related charges, authorities had to drop terrorism 
     charges against him because Hizballah was not listed as a 
     terrorist organization;
       Whereas the European Union (EU) in July 2013 designated 
     Hizballah's so-called ``military wing''--but not the 
     organization as a whole--as a terrorist organization;
       Whereas despite restrictions put on Hizballah since the 
     designation of its military wing, the group continues to 
     conduct illicit narco-trafficking, money laundering, and 
     weapons trafficking throughout Europe;
       Whereas EU designation of Hizballah's military wing has 
     enabled substantial and important cooperation between United 
     States and European authorities aimed at uncovering and 
     thwarting Hizballah's international criminal activities, such 
     as drug trafficking and money laundering, the proceeds of 
     which are used to purchase weapons and advance Hizballah's 
     terrorist aims;
       Whereas in December 2015 the Hizballah International 
     Financing Prevention Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-102) was 
     signed into law

[[Page H8192]]

     in the United States, broadening financial sector sanctions 
     against Hizballah to compel foreign financial institutions to 
     refrain from supporting the terrorist group;
       Whereas in February 2016 the United States Drug Enforcement 
     Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection 
     partnered with counterparts in France, Germany, Italy, and 
     Belgium to arrest top leaders of the European cell of 
     Hizballah's External Security Organization Business Affairs 
     Component--a cell that engages in international money 
     laundering and drug trafficking to support Hizballah's terror 
       Whereas for many years, the Governments of Iran and Syria 
     have been the prime sponsors of Hizballah, harboring, 
     financing, training, and arming the group;
       Whereas Department of Defense officials estimate that Iran 
     provides as much as $200,000,000 per year to Hizballah in the 
     form of financial and logistical support, weapons, and 
       Whereas Hizballah now has an arsenal of approximately 
     150,000 missiles and rockets, many of which can reach deep 
     into Israel, at a time when Hizballah Secretary General 
     Hassan Nasrallah is threatening to attack and invade Israel;
       Whereas Hizballah fighters have been supporting the Assad 
     regime in Syria, often leading operations in the conflict 
     which has left more than 465,000 dead;
       Whereas Russia has established fusion centers in Syria to 
     coordinate with Iran, the Assad regime, and Hizballah, and 
     Russian air cover has given Hizballah an advantage on the 
     battlefield against Syria rebels;
       Whereas Hizballah's destabilizing actions in the conflict 
     in Syria has fueled a migrant crisis that has brought nearly 
     400,000 migrants and refugees to Europe in 2016 and 2017 
       Whereas Lebanon continues to be plagued by instability and 
       Whereas due to Hizballah's actions in Syria, the Islamic 
     State of Iraq and the Levant has carried out retaliatory 
     terrorist attacks in Beirut;
       Whereas the Lebanese Armed Forces, the legitimate security 
     establishment of the country as set forth in United Nations 
     Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), are struggling to 
     control the flow of weapons and Hizballah fighters at its 
       Whereas Hizballah trains and provides weapons for Shiite 
     militias in Iraq and Yemen, further destabilizing the region 
     and perpetuating violence in those countries;
       Whereas in October 2012 Hizballah Deputy Secretary General 
     Naim Qassem stated that ``[Hizballah does not] have a 
     military wing and a political one . . . Every element of 
     Hizballah, from commanders to members as well as our various 
     capabilities, are in the service of the resistance'';
       Whereas the United States, Canada, Israel, and the 
     Netherlands have designated Hizballah in its entirety as a 
     terror organization, while Australia and New Zealand have 
     applied the designation to the organization's so-called 
     military wing;
       Whereas in March 2016 the Gulf Cooperation Council, the 
     bloc of six Gulf Arab nations, formally branded Hizballah, in 
     its entirety, a terrorist organization, and the League of 
     Arab States shortly thereafter adopted the same designation;
       Whereas in April 2016 the Organization of Islamic 
     Cooperation, denounced Hizballah's ``terrorist acts'' in the 
     Middle East;
       Whereas Hizballah Secretary General Nasrallah said in May 
     2017 that the conflict in Syria had entered a ``new and 
     critical phase'' in which Damascus, Moscow, Tehran, and 
     Hezbollah were ``in more harmony politically and militarily 
     than at any time'';
       Whereas the United States has designated Hizballah's 
     Foreign Relations Department, which has representatives 
     around the world, as a Specially Designated National, subject 
     to United States primary and secondary sanctions;
       Whereas the Department of the Treasury has diligently added 
     persons and entities to the list of Specially Designated 
     Global Terrorists who have provided material support to the 
     Hizballah terrorist organization, thereby hampering its 
     financing and logistical capabilities; and
       Whereas in May 2017 the United States and Saudi Arabia 
     sanctioned Hashem Saffiedine, a member of Hizballah's 
     executive council which oversees the organization's 
     political, organizational, social and educational activities, 
     for his involvement in terrorist activity: Now, therefore, be 
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) expresses appreciation to the European Union (EU) for 
     the progress made in countering Hizballah since the EU 
     designated Hizballah's military wing as a terrorist 
       (2) applauds and expresses support for the continued, 
     increased cooperation between the United States and the EU in 
     thwarting Hizballah's criminal and terrorist activities;
       (3) supports transcontinental efforts within Europe to 
     share intelligence information among police and security 
     services to facilitate greater cooperation in tracking, 
     apprehending, and prosecuting terrorists, foreign fighters, 
     and potential offenders;
       (4) encourages the EU to, whenever possible and applicable 
     with due process standards, implement sanctions against 
     Hizballah-affiliated terrorists in tandem with the United 
     States; and
       (5) urges the EU to designate Hizballah in its entirety as 
     a terrorist organization and increase pressure on the group, 
     including through--
       (A) facilitating better cross-border cooperation between EU 
     members in combating Hizballah;
       (B) issuing arrest warrants against members and active 
     supporters of Hizballah;
       (C) freezing Hizballah's assets in Europe, including those 
     masquerading as charities; and
       (D) prohibiting fundraising activities in support of 

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutch) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.

                             General Leave

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
to include extraneous material on this measure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the Speaker and Chairman Royce, as well as 
Congressman Engel, the ranking member, for their help in bringing this 
important resolution to the floor.
  I also want to say how proud our committee is of the great work of 
Ranking Member Ted Deutch of the Middle East and North Africa 
Subcommittee, and our Florida colleague, Gus Bilirakis, who are the 
authors of H. Res. 359, urging the European Union to designate 
Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. I thank Mr. 
Deutch for his leadership on this.
  This notion, Mr. Speaker, that there can be separate wings of a 
terrorist organization is as absurd as the notion that Iran can be a 
responsible member of the international community. There is no 
distinction between Hezbollah members. Anyone who pledges allegiance to 
this terror group must be labeled accordingly.
  One needn't look further than Hezbollah's activities in Syria or its 
terror attacks against Israel or even the statements coming out of 
Iran, its patron, and Hezbollah itself to know that if you are 
Hezbollah, you support terror activities. Iran is a state sponsor of 
terrorism, and Hezbollah is its proxy.
  There is simply no justification at all for our European friends to 
try to differentiate between a military wing and a political wing of a 
terrorist organization. They may justify it by saying it will upset the 
delicate balance in Lebanon and they worry about the fallout, but the 
sad reality is that it comes down to money.
  They will not take any action against Iran, as we have seen since the 
JCPOA, because members of the EU have signed lucrative business deals 
with Iran, and they don't want to damage their economic opportunities. 
It is as simple as that, because even our Gulf allies have labeled 
Hezbollah, in its entirety, as a terrorist organization.
  The European Union needs to wake up, and we must urge it and its 
member states to designate the whole of Hezbollah as the terrorists 
that they are, and it must realize that doing so would be in their best 
interest and in the best interest of Israel, a nation that shares their 
values and their ideals, unlike Iran, a regime that benefits by the 
lack of a full designation of Hezbollah.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 359.
  I would first like to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel 
for their leadership on the committee in bringing this resolution 
forward. I would like to thank my friend from Florida, Congressman 
Bilirakis, for working with me on this resolution. I thank as well 
Chairman Ros-Lehtinen for her leadership on the subcommittee and 
ensuring that we have the opportunity to move forward together.
  Mr. Speaker, in 2013, almost exactly 1 year after a Hezbollah suicide 
bomber blew up a bus in Bulgaria, killing mostly Israeli tourists, the 
European Union took action to finally designate

[[Page H8193]]

Hezbollah a terrorist organization. However, they only designated what 
they called Hezbollah's military wing as a terror group and not its 
political wing.
  The United States has been clear that this was a false distinction 
then and it remains a false distinction today. Hezbollah is one unified 
terrorist organization, and it is led by the terrorist, Hassan 
Nasrallah. It is one unified Hezbollah that is responsible for the 
horrific acts of terror against Europeans, Americans, Israelis, and 
others across the Middle East and around the globe.
  It is one unified Hezbollah that has helped prop up the Assad regime, 
and it is complicit in the death of half a million Syrians and the 
dissolving of a once thriving nation. So this one unified Hezbollah 
should be designated as a terrorist organization so we can increase 
international cooperation to isolate and dismantle this group.
  This morning, Mr. Speaker, the Middle East and North Africa 
Subcommittee held a hearing on next steps for our Iran policy. There, I 
noted that 2 days ago we marked a solemn anniversary, because 34 years 
ago, on October 23, two Hezbollah suicide bombers blew themselves up at 
the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing over 300 U.S. and French 
servicemembers, peacekeepers, and civilians. That attack, like so many 
of Hezbollah's deadly terrorist activities over the past several 
decades, was sponsored and directed by Iran.
  While our Nation built a memorial honoring the victims of that 
attack, Tehran built a monument honoring the perpetrators of that 
attack. A full EU designation of Hezbollah now would help demonstrate 
Europe's commitment to cracking down on Iran's use of proxy terror 
groups, destabilizing the region, and attacking Western interests.
  Now, I understand that the EU has legal concerns about this 
designation since Hezbollah has infiltrated Lebanon's political system. 
However, I would just offer this observation. The terrorist 
organization Hamas operates as a political party in Gaza, yet the EU 
still rightly lists the entirety of Hamas as a terror organization. 
That has not impacted their ability to support Gaza reconstruction, 
just as designating Hezbollah would not prevent them from supporting 
Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
  Last year, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League both 
designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. They made no 
distinction between the military and political wing, despite Lebanon 
being a member of the Arab League. I hope the EU took note of that.

  I thank the Speaker for bringing this resolution to the floor so that 
my colleagues can join me in sending an important message to our 
European friends and allies. More can be done to counter the Iranian 
proxy Hezbollah, and that begins with calling them what they are, a 
terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel and 
undermining the values and interests of the United States.
  Our EU friends must acknowledge as well the values and interests of 
Europe. The world knows that Hezbollah is a terrorist group. It is time 
for the European Union to end its false distinction and join us in 
designating all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. I urge my 
colleagues to support this resolution and to send them that message.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, 
so I will wait for Mr. Deutch to close on his time. Mr. Speaker, I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to Chairman Royce, Ranking 
Member Engel, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Bilirakis, and to my 
colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee and other Members for their 
work on the three measures today aimed at curbing the terrorist group 
  The measures that we are advancing today represent smart and tough 
approaches that will respond to Hezbollah and its enablers, and will 
build stronger international support for this important effort. This 
measure and the others that we have considered today are a great 
example of the way that we can work across the aisle to help keep our 
country safe. I urge a ``yes'' vote on this resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from Florida, Ranking Member 
Deutch, for authoring this resolution and bringing it to the floor 
  Hezbollah has a single leadership, fungible finances, and a single 
hostile mission. All branches and operations serve its terrorist 
activities, and it is a deadly mistake to attempt to distinguish among 
its arms.
  I again want to thank Mr. Deutch, Chairman Royce, Ranking Member 
Engel for their work on this important resolution, which calls for our 
European allies to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terrorist 
organization. This is a critical step that our partners across the 
Atlantic must take to protect our citizens and allies from a highly 
organized, capable, and increasingly battle-trained terror group that 
operates networks in countries around the world.
  We must work together to deprive this organization of its support. I, 
therefore, urge my colleagues to join me in support of this resolution. 
I thank the gentleman from Florida for his authorship.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
Chabot), the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and a 
senior member of our Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman 
Royce, and all the other folks that have worked on a number of bills 
here today.
  I rise in strong support of H. Res. 359; H.R. 3329; H.R. 3342; and 
H.R. 1698, that one, in particular, aims to prevent Iran from acquiring 
ballistic missiles because they have the capability or soon will have 
the capability not just to target the Middle East and Europe, but also 
target us here on our soil right here in the United States if we don't 
do something about this, with ultimately a nuclear device.
  Iran is determined to be the dominant power in the Middle East. The 
Iranian regime hopes to achieve this by exporting terrorism, 
destabilizing its neighbors, and promising death to America and to our 
  Bearing this in mind, Iran's nuclear ambitions and ballistic missiles 
program are not only a direct threat to the United States and our 
allies, but they are a direct threat to the peace and stability of the 
entire world.
  When the Iran deal was signed, I said back then and believed back 
then that this was a bad deal, it would ultimately lead to nuclear 
weapons, and that they weren't going to meet their commitments. And we 
are seeing here today the backsliding by Iran to these commitments.
  Ten years ago, Russia agreed to sell a number of S-300 surface-to-air 
missile systems to Iran. The Russians suspended the deal in 2010, but 
renewed it after the Iran deal, the JCPOA was agreed to. Now Moscow has 
delivered multiple S-300 systems.
  While the S-300 missile platforms strengthens Iran's conventional 
capabilities, it also fundamentally complicates the United States' 
strategy for eliminating a potential nuclear threat against us or 
against our allies. Iran displayed this surface-to-air missile system 
to the public late last month, so we know it is there and it is 
  That is exactly why H.R. 1698 is so important. It will help combat 
Iran's ongoing nuclear ambitions by requiring the President to report 
on the Iranian ballistic missiles program and to oppose targeted 
sanctions on Iranian Government entities and foreign actors that aid 
Iran in its nuclear development.
  I also want to speak briefly relative to the threat that Hezbollah 
poses to the Middle East and the entire world. I, again, want to thank 
Congressman Royce and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member 
Engel and many others for their hard work on this.
  Hezbollah's mission is to destroy Israel. It is backed by Iran. It 
poses a constant threat to the Middle East peace. We have designated it 
as a terrorist organization due to its routine attacks, especially 
rocket attacks on

[[Page H8194]]

Israel that have led to war, and its brutal tactics.

                              {time}  1615

  For years, Hezbollah has continued to accumulate larger rocket 
stockpiles, grow their presence, and develop even more unimaginable 
barbaric strategies.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for these, and I urge my 
colleagues to support these.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Because the gentlewoman from Florida did not close as expected, the 
gentleman from Florida will, without objection, be allowed to reclaim 
his time.
  Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, that is very kind, but I am happy to yield 
to my friend from Florida, so I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Florida is now 
recognized to close debate.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, with that, I also yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure.
  Let me thank my good friend and colleague from Florida, 
Representative Deutch, the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Middle 
East Subcommittee, for bringing forward this measure.
  This measure represents another part of a good congressional strategy 
for combatting Hezbollah, and that's rallying support among friends and 
partners . . . making sure that around the world everyone sees 
Hezbollah for what it is: a terrorist group.
  This has been a bit of a stumbling block with our friends in the 
European Union. Make no mistake: Hezbollah has waged its campaign of 
violence in Europe over the years, such as 2012, when a Hezbollah 
terrorist killed five Israelis in Bulgaria.
  Yet in 2013, the EU announced it would consider only the ``military 
wing'' of Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, drawing a 
distinction with the so-called political wing.
  Well, Mr. Speaker, that's a distinction without a difference. 
Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and that's all there is to it. 
The more shades of grey clouding this issue, the harder it's going to 
be to work with our EU allies to stop Hezbollah's violent activities.
  So this measure lays out the facts about Hezbollah's presence in 
Europe and the other groups that have labeled Hezbollah a terrorist 
organization. It commends the work we're already doing with our EU 
allies to push back against Hezbollah. And it says that it's time for 
the EU to stop the hairsplitting. It calls on the EU to designate all 
of Hezbollah for what it is: a terrorist organization.
  I'm glad to support this measure. It sends such an important signal 
to our friends across the Atlantic.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 359, 
which I am proud to co-lead and cosponsor with my colleagues. This 
important resolution urges the European Union to designate Hizballah in 
its entirety as a terrorist organization.
  There is no distinction between the military and political wings of 
Hizballah. They are part and parcel of the same entity, that is a 
terrorist organization that threatens the United States and our allies, 
and contributes to instability and violence in the Middle East.
  The EU designated Hizballah's military wing as a terrorist 
organization in 2013, and has made notable progress in countering 
Hizballah activities, but more must be done. This resolution urges the 
EU to take practical and tangible steps to reduce the terrorist threat 
posed to the United States, Europe, Israel, and our other allies in the 
Middle East by Hizballah. For example, increasing cross-border 
intelligence sharing, freezing Hizballah assets, prohibiting Hizballah 
fundraising activities, and issuing arrest warrants for Hizballah 
members and supporters in Europe would not only send a strong message, 
but would have a concrete impact inhibiting the ability of Hizballah to 
operate with impunity.
  I urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 359.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 359, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.