August 18, 2020

116th Congressional Scorecard

The 116th Congress considered many issues of importance to the Iranian-American community, including the Muslim ban that has separated Iranian Americans from their loved ones and bills to block the Trump administration from starting a war with Iran without Congressional approval. The following scorecard reflects how each legislator performed in advancing peace and diplomacy with Iran, securing equitable immigration policies, and protecting the civil rights of all Americans by focusing on key votes, bills, and letters.

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Scoring Guide 

For legislation we supported that received a roll call vote, we assigned a score of +1 for voting in favor, 0 for abstention and -1 for voting against. For letters and legislation that did not receive a vote that we supported, we scored +1 for co-sponsorship and 0 for failing to cosponsor. The reverse would apply to votes or legislation that we opposed. Two pieces of legislation received double weight – Senator Kaine’s war powers resolution (S.J.Res. 68), which passed out of Congress and was vetoed by President Trump, and the NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214/S. 1123), which was passed out of the House but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

Legislation Key

Kaine War Powers (S.J.Res. 68): bans the use of U.S. Armed Forces against Iran unless through an authorization of war or an authorization of military force.”

Table Rubio Amendment (S.Amdt.1320 to S.J.Res. 68): a motion to table an amendment that asserts the US is not currently engaged in hostilities, as contemplated by the War Powers Resolution, against Iran.

Table Cotton Amendment (S.Amdt.1305 to S.J.Res. 68): a motion to table an amendment that allows unauthorized military action against designated terrorist organizations. 

Cruz Amendment (S.Amdt.1301 to S.J.Res. 68): an amendment that commends the U.S. Armed Forces for a successful mission against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

Defund Muslim Ban (H.R. 810 & S. 246): prevents funds and resources from going towards any federal agency to enforce orders related to the Muslim Ban

NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214 & S.1123): limits the authority of the President to restrict immigrants from entering the United States, prevents the President from making immigration-related orders on a discriminatory basis, and increases Congressional oversight of newly instituted travel bans. 

Lee JCPOA Reentry (H.Res. 495): Calls on the United States and Iran to return to full compliance in their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Act nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and calls on all parties to avoid conflict.

Udall War Powers (S. 1039): prohibits funds from being used for kinetic military operations against Iran unless Congress authorizes such an action.

Udall-Kaine (S.Admt. 833 to S.1790): prohibits unauthorized military operations in or against Iran.

Khanna-Gaetz No War With Iran (H.R. 2500): an amendment on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) FY2020 prohibiting unauthorized military force in or against Iran.

Slotkin War Powers (H.Con.Res 83): the bill calls on the President to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.

Khanna No War With Iran Act (H.R. 550): prohibits the obligation or expenditure of federal funds for any use of military force in or against Iran unless Congress has either declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use.

Lee No War With Iran Act (H.R. 550): states that no prior authorizations of military force may be construed to authorize the use of military force against Iran, and it repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

RELIEF Act (H.R. 5327 & S.2603): increases the total number of greencards for employment-based immigrant visas. 

Lee Green Card Bill (H.R. 1044 & S.386): eliminates per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas while not increasing the total number of green cards. 

Protection of Iranian Cultural Sites (H.Res.795 & S.Con.Res. 32): asserts that U.S. attacks on cultural sites are war crimes.

Repeal Alien Enemies Act (H.R. 5734): fully repeals the Alien Enemies Act of 1798, a set of four bills – one of which is still in effect today, that targets immigrants under the guise of war.

Access to Counsel (H.R. 5581): provides various protections for covered individuals subject to secondary or deferred inspections when seeking admission into the United States. 

AOC-Bernie & COVID-19 Sanctions Relief Letter: bicameral letters calling on the U.S. government to provide sanctions relief to Iran amid the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Omar-Lee-Grijalva Humanitarian Letter: sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressing deep concern on the impact that U.S. sanctions are having on access to medicine in Iran—particularly for individuals suffering from chronic, advanced, or rare diseases.

Jayapal-DelBene Letter: sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “to obtain more information regarding the holding of Iranian Americans in secondary inspection upon entering the United States in Blaine, Washington”

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