Johnson foreign aid package includes new Iran oil sanctions

By Manuel Quiñones, Andres Picon | 04/18/2024 06:48 AM EDT

Republicans may also try to add an amendment scrapping President Joe Biden’s natural gas export review pause.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) at the Capitol on Wednesday. Francis Chung/POLITICO

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s national security supplemental legislation released Wednesday includes new sanctions to prevent Iran from selling its oil.

The Louisiana Republican released four bills — one to help Ukraine, another to help Israel, a third to address Indo-Pacific security issues and a fourth combining a hodgepodge of issues.

One measure that was included, H.R. 5923, the “Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act,” passed earlier this week and would make it harder for China to buy Iranian oil.


Another, the “Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act,” H.R. 3774, would sanction people and institutions that help Iran trade its oil. The legislation passed the full House in November.

Both measures gained prominence following last year’s attack on Israel by Iran-backed militants. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle accused the administration of not doing enough to prevent Iranian oil sales.

The “21st Century Peace through Strength Act” — the fourth bill in Johnson’s package — doesn’t include provisions to undo President Joe Biden’s natural gas export review pause.

Even though Republican leaders had considered adding such a mandate to a foreign aid offering, linking the issue to global security, they know it would jeopardize the bill’s prospects.

“We tried to put it in this package and every package,” said Johnson. “We’ll continue to fight for that and continue to make the case, because it’s critical for our stability.”

President Joe Biden gave the four House bills his stamp of approval Wednesday.

“I strongly support this package to get critical support to Israel and Ukraine, provide desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and bolster security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Still, Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) is not ruling out pushing for an amendment to add liquefied natural gas export language to one of the national security bills. House leaders said they would be open to germane amendments.

“We are very interested in it. I think it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “I think it’s germane to the discussion.”

Johnson and his allies designed the bills to ensure support from Senate Democrats and the White House. And with House conservatives in open revolt, the speaker will also need House Democrats to succeed — and perhaps even keep his job.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has not said whether Democrats will bail out Johnson. Party members will discuss the matter Thursday morning.

“Extraneous matters have no place in anything that we consider over the next few days,” Jeffries said when asked about LNG language.