WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) to introduce new legislation ensuring Congress has a say in the revocation of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designations. Currently, the executive branch can take such action unilaterally. Their new proposal comes after reports have indicated the Biden administration is considering the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the FTO list as the U.S. continues to renegotiate the Iran Deal. The renegotiation is taking place despite the fact that this organization remains involved in terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond.
“This is an unchecked power exercised by the executive branch that should be subject to congressional approval. It’s especially alarming given the current administration is potentially using it to capitulate to Iran. We shouldn’t be appeasing our aggressors – it’s past time to learn that lesson. Our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances for a reason, and this is a clear area where the legislative branch should have the option to overrule the executive,” Grassley said.
By designating an entity as an FTO, the U.S. limits a terrorist group’s financial, proprietary and travel interests. Some of the consequences of receiving such a designation are:
- It is unlawful for a U.S. citizen to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO.
- Individuals who belong to a designated FTO are inadmissible to – and in certain circumstances removable from – the U.S.FTO designations also support U.S. efforts to prevent terrorism financing, deter donations or economic transactions and demonstrate a heightened concern to other nations.
Under current law, if the president or secretary of state moves to revoke a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) designation – such as for Iran or North Korea –, Congress has the authority to introduce a resolution of disapproval to block the removal. However, Congress does not have the same authority for FTOs. Simply put, this legislation provides Congress with equal authority for FTOs and SSTs.