This was a vote on a motion made by Rep. Burton (R-IN), which he described as a “Republican motion”, to recommit (send back to committee) H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act with instructions to have it include the language of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions bill. The “Iran Sanctions” bill mandated that the State Department immediately open an investigation into alleged violations of existing sanctions against Iran and companies that have illegally done business with Iran.
Rep. Burton, arguing on behalf of his motion, said that “Iran can only finance its threatening activities against us and the world because of the foreign investment in its energy sector. Depriving the regime of refined petroleum and of foreign investment will severely undermine Iran's economy, and it will increase pressure on the mullahs to abandon their dangerous course. We need to impose serious sanctions on Iran, and we need to do it now without delay.”
Rep. Berman (D-CA), who was leading the effort on behalf of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, claimed that “what we see in the offering of this motion to recommit is a political party or the leadership of a political party that, number one, is not serious about pursuing an effective strategy to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability and, two, that is using the pretext of Iran to strike every single provision of the bill that we have presented and that has been debated on.”
Berman also said “we should have a bipartisan approach . . . I supported that policy of the previous administration: Isolate and sanction unilaterally because we could never get effective multilateral sanctions. It didn't work. Iran kept enriching every day while we sat around, railing against them. We are trying something new because we want this policy to work. We want to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. I don't know if the diplomatic strategy will work. You guys don't know if it will work . . . This politicizes a very important bipartisan issue.”
The motion was defeated on a vote of 174-250. One hundred sixty-nine Republicans and five Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-two Democrats and eight Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House moved to an immediate vote on passage of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act without including the provisions of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions bill .