This vote was on an amendment by Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that would prohibit funding from going to pay for any contract with a company that does business in Iran’s energy sector. The president could waive this if he determined it was necessary for national security. The amendment was offered to a bill that would fund most domestic agencies in fiscal 2009.
Kyl said his amendment says no federal money can go to companies that are helping Iran, particularly when it comes to imports or exports.
“In the campaign, the President noted that the kind of sanction we need to impose is on the companies, for example, that are providing refined gasoline to Iran. I hope my colleagues agree we do not need to send this money to companies that do business with Iran,” Kyl said.
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said Kyl’s amendment is purely political and a “gimmick to attack” the bill. He said he tried three times in the past to close loopholes that allow American companies to set up offshore havens that allow them to bypass sanctions against Iran, and Republicans voted against them.
“Each and every time, the Republican Members of the Senate voted against commonsense legislation. They voted to keep Iran open for business. They voted to allow American companies to help the regime in Tehran, as the Senator said, to produce oil, to produce revenues they sent to Iraq to help those guys kill our troops,” Lautenberg said. “Why now are these Members so interested in stopping companies from doing business with Iran? We know why. Raw political showmanship.” Lautenberg added that Kyl’s amendment would not have any real impact; according to the Congressional Research Service, his amendment would not have any impact on present sanctions.
By a vote of 41-53, the amendment was rejected. All but three Republicans present voted for the amendment. All but four Democrats present voted against the amendment. The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would bar funds from going to any company that does business in Iran’s energy sector.