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Brown called for new leadership at the FDIC, setting up a clash against core progressive allies and the White House with tremendous stakes for financial policy.

Brown is skeptical about new Iran sanctions legislation

News: The chair of the Senate Banking Committee doesn’t think Congress needs to pass new sanctions legislation targeting Iran.

Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) committee is set to hold a hearing Thursday on how the U.S. government can better combat “networks of illicit finance and terrorism.”

But when asked about legislation targeting Iran with new sanctions, Brown doesn’t see an immediate need for Congress to act.

Much ado has been made about $6 billion in Iranian assets that were briefly unfrozen as part of a prisoner exchange with the United States only to be re-frozen after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month.

“We’ve publicly said it should be frozen,” Brown said, referring to that $6 billion figure. But Brown added, “I don’t think we need legislation.” The Ohio Democrat said he had spoken with Biden administration officials and was “confident that it’s frozen and should stay frozen.”

As we reported Tuesday night, there’s bipartisan interest in legislation that would mandate the freeze. That includes Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, who introduced the Revoke Iranian Funding Act on Oct. 17.

But if Brown doesn’t join the effort, his committee’s jurisdiction over sanctions will make it into a bit of a chokepoint.

— Brendan Pedersen

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