Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a July 26, 2023 House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

AOC Rips GOP for Trying to 'Distract From Their Own Incompetence' With Anti-Iran Bills

"The country and the world need real leadership from the House of Representatives in this moment, not resolutions designed purposefully to increase the likelihood of a deadly regional war or worse."

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday accused her Republican colleagues of dangerously trying to cloak their own legislative impotence in a flurry of anti-Iran bills—including a bipartisan proposal to ban Americans from traveling to the country.

"Following last weekend's unprecedented response by Iran to Israel's attack on its consulate, the Republican majority is explicitly leveraging a series of bills to further escalate tensions in the Middle East," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "This is a blatant attempt to distract from their own incompetence."

On Monday, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) published this week's proposed bills and resolutions, which include 15 separate measures condemning or sanctioning Iran following the retaliatory missile and drone attack launched by Tehran against Israel last weekend.

"In light of Iran's unjustified attack on Israel, the House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider legislation that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable," Scalise said in a statement.

Peace advocates expressed alarm over a bipartisan resolution introduced Tuesday by Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) calling for regime change in Iran—where the United States and United Kingdom led a 1953 coup that ensured the decadeslong rule of a repressive monarch that ended just before the current Islamist regime took power 45 years ago this month.

"Decades of a tyrannical regime in Tehran—destabilizing the Middle East and intentionally spreading chaos throughout the region—has culminated in Iran's direct attack on our greatest ally, Israel," Weber said in a statement. "The rogue regime needs to be overthrown immediately."

One of the most controversial bills on the docket, introduced by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), would urge the Biden administration to ban U.S. passport holders from traveling to Iran.

"This shameful idea that punishes people instead of governments was first proposed by [former U.S. President] Donald Trump's Iran envoy (and likely war criminal) Elliott Abrams," the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said in a statement. "Now, Rep. Wilson—who has deep ties to the [Mojahedin-e-Khalq] and other hawkish groups—is partnering with a hawkish Democrat on this proposal."

"Make no mistake: A ban as called for by this bill could have serious ramifications for anyone traveling to Iran, regardless of passport. We must make clear that this is unacceptable," NIAC continued.

"What if you could no longer travel to Iran to see relatives, visit a sick family member, attend a wedding, or claim an inheritance, out of fear of being imprisoned by the U.S. government?" the group added. "Seeing our loved ones isn't a crime, and no government, whether Iranian or American, should prevent us from doing so."

Congressional progressives say the anti-Iran bills are part of a scheme to deflect attention from what many social media users are calling the "#GOPShitShow," exemplified by yet another effort by far-right lawmakers to dethrone a Republican House speaker—less than six months after his GOP predecessor was ousted.

"The country and the world need real leadership from the House of Representatives in this moment, not resolutions designed purposefully to increase the likelihood of a deadly regional war or worse," said Ocasio-Cortez. "I will oppose any cynical effort to further inflame tensions, destroy a path to peace in the region, and further divide the American people."

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