A number of congressional Democrats are joining their Republican colleagues’ calls for the Biden administration to re-freeze the $6 billion transfer to Iran as their senate seats are in jeopardy going into the 2024 election cycle.
Though the $6 billion can reportedly only be used for “humanitarian purposes,” it will free up unrestricted funds Iran could use to sponsor more terrorism, prompting bipartisan lawmakers to demand it is re-frozen immediately. The Democrats who support a re-freeze are Sens. Joe Manchin, Bob Casey, Jon Tester and Jacky Rosen, and all are in danger of losing their senate seats in 2024.
“I wasn’t supportive of the initial $6 billion transfer,” Manchin told reporters on Tuesday. “We should absolutely freeze these Iranian assets while we also consider additional sanctions.”
A number of Democrats, including members of “The Squad” such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley, have fallen under public scrutiny for prioritizing support to Palestinians and calling for a “cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas. Americans support Israelis over Palestinians by 54%; Republicans at 78%, Independents at 49% and Democrats at 38%, according to a Gallup poll from March.
“These funds should remain frozen until we can determine whether Iran played a role in the attack and what the appropriate U.S. response should be,” Casey said in a statement Wednesday.
Let’s be clear – the innocent Israeli civilians who have been kidnapped, raped, beaten and murdered did nothing to warrant this attack. My full statement on the continued violence in Israel and throughout the region: pic.twitter.com/3WW68heecG
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 10, 2023
Palestinian terror group Hamas has murdered over 1,200 Israelis since Saturday and taken hundreds hostage, some of whom have been subjected to torture or rape. Hamas has been backed by Iran for decades, and early Israeli and U.S. intelligence suspect the country played a part in the most recent attacks.
“As American intelligence officials continue to investigate the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, we should review our options to hold Iran accountable for any support they may have provided,” Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester said in a statement Tuesday. “At a minimum, we should immediately freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and explore other financial tools we have at our disposal.”
“In light of Hamas’s violent and horrific terrorist attack on Israel and Iran’s long-standing support for Hamas, we should freeze these assets,” Democratic Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen told Politico on Tuesday.
Manchin, Casey, Tester and Rosen are joining a number of their Republican colleagues’ calls for a re-freeze, led by Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, in the call to Biden to re-freeze the $6 billion transfer.
Manchin’s seat in West Virginia is in the most danger with a toss-up rating, while Casey, Tester and Rosen’s seats in their respective states of Pennsylvania, Montana and Nevada lean Democrat but are, according to the Cook Political Report 2024 senate race ratings.
Manchin, Casey, Tester and Rosen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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