Wilson-Led ‘Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act’ Passes House Floor

Washington, D.C. – Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, welcomes the passage of the Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act. The legislationholds the regime of Bashar al-Assad accountable for its support of terrorism and mass murder of the Syrian people. It affirms that the United States is prepared to impose costs for governments seeking normalization or business agreements with the Assad regime. The bill passed the House floor 389-32.

     This legislation improves and strengthens the bipartisan commitment to punish offenders, while providing additional protection for humanitarian organizations serving the Syrian people. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate for final passage into law.

      “This landmark legislation puts both Bashar and Asma Assad on notice: the United States will actively target them, their financiers, and their enablers. To normalize Assad is to normalize death and depravity. There is no rehabilitation for a criminal who uses chemical weapons on children and runs a terrorism hub on land stolen from the people of Syria. This vote makes clear the American people stand in overwhelming, bipartisan opposition to the continued reign of terror by Assad and in support of the emergence of a Free Syria,” said Rep. Wilson.

     “The Syrian people have suffered the brutality of the Assad regime, and its Russian and Iranian backers, for far too long. The world cannot simply excuse these crimes because it is convenient. We’ve seen the consequences of this play out in Ukraine at devastating cost. With this bill, Congress is sending a message that it remains committed to holding Assad and his backers accountable and ensuring justice for the Syrian people, in the face of creeping normalization with this war criminal,” said House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX).

     “Bashar al-Assad’s barbaric regime should never be viewed as legitimate or normal,” said Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA). “There should never be any reason to justify normalizing relations with a government that is responsible for the murder of over 600,000 men, women, and children. By passing this bipartisan legislation, the United States sent a clear and resounding message to Assad and his backers. We cannot in good conscience allow a criminal who used chemical weapons against children to be recognized by the international community. Assad and his regime should not be rewarded for the senseless acts of violence they have committed over the past decade and continue to inflict on the Syrian people today.”

     This legislation would not have been possible without the work of Syrian-American Organizations including the American Center for Levant Studies (ACLS), Americans for a Free Syria, Citizens for a Safe and Secure America, Syrian Institute for Progress, Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD) Action, Multifaith Alliance, Pro Justice, Syria Faith Initiative, Syrian American Council, Syrian Christian USA, Syrian Forum USA, Syrian Humanitarian Institute for National Empowerment (SHINE), the Syrian Emergency Task Force. I am also tremendously grateful to my friend, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, for his support.

     The text of the bill is available here.