House votes for bill to freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds

Congress moves forward with legislation to refreeze billions in Iranian assets unfrozen in prisoner exchange deal earlier this year.

By World Israel News Staff

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass legislation re-freezing billions of dollars in Iranian assets which were unfrozen earlier this year as part of a deal securing the release of American prisoners.

The bill passed in its final vote by a margin of 307 to 119, with 90 Democrats joining the Republican majority, while 118 Democrats and a lone Republican – Kentucky’s Thomas Massie – voted against the bill.

Republicans have long been critical of the deal, first announced in August, which secured the release of five Americans held by Iran, in exchange for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian assets.

Following the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7th and reports that Iran helped train elite Hamas terrorists for the attack, Congress has moved to reimpose prohibitions on the use of the money partially unfrozen in the hostage release deal.

The Senate has also proposed similar legislation, but has yet to pass any bill on the matter.

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“There’s something else going on here,” said Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the sponsor of the bill.

“This is about the undercurrent of a deal we don’t know about.”

Thomas Massie, who represents Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District, defended his decision to join with just over half of the Democratic caucus in voting against the bill.

“I’m voting against HR 5961 because there’s no legal or moral authority for us to freeze or steal assets of other countries we are not at war with,” Massie tweeted.

“It’s also shortsighted for us to use our super-power status to force foreign banks to freeze assets of sovereign countries.”

Massie has recently voted against a number of measures relating to Middle Eastern policy, including a non-binding resolution affirming Israel’s right to exist.

I agree with the title ‘Reaffirming the State of Israel’s Right to Exist’ and much of the language, but I’m voting No on the resolution because it equates anti-Zionism with antisemitism,” Massie tweeted. “Antisemitism is deplorable, but expanding it to include criticism of Israel is not helpful.”