WASHINGON, D.C. — The Minnesota House delegation today joined a majority of their colleagues in passing a measure that would allow states and local governments to cut their investments in international corporations doing business in Iran’s energy sector.
The so-called Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 overwhelmingly passed the House 414 to 6. Minnesota’s entire House delegation voted in favor of the legislation, aside from Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, who did not vote.
According to Walz spokeswoman Sara Severs, the Waltz missed the vote because he was attending the signing of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act.
“Congressman Walz felt that because this was a top priority for veterans and something he has been fighting for since first coming to Congress, it was important for him to attend,” Severs said in a statement. “He intended to make it back, but unfortunately he missed the opportunity to vote by a few minutes. He has entered a statement into the Congressional Record stating he would have voted in favor of H.R. 1327.”
The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act does not actually impose new sanctions, but it does give legal protection to investors who would like to withdraw their money from organizations or individuals who have more than $20-million in Iran’s energy sector.
“The Iranian government will be more responsive if the United States can isolate the regime and apply some distinct pressure,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., according to the Associated Press.
The Senate is currently deliberating its own version of a divestment bill.
For more information on the House bill, check out the AP’s story here.