GOP Budget Proposal Touts Toughest Iran Sanctions in History and Eradication of ‘Woke’ Military Programs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) leaves a House Republican conference meeting in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2023 in Washington, DC. Members of the GOP conference met for a closed-door vote to select their nominee for speaker to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted on October 4 in a move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party. Republicans nominated Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) earlier today, but he has already dropped out of the running after it became clear he could not secure enough votes.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
March 20, 2024

A federal budget proposal released by the House’s largest Republican caucus on Wednesday "would implement the toughest package of sanctions on Iran ever proposed by Congress" and eradicate funding for "all woke programs and priorities in the military," according to a copy of the fiscal package provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), which is spearheading the $895.2 billion defense spending proposal, says its vision was sculpted with the recognition "that President Biden has failed as commander-in-chief." It takes aim at millions of dollars in military spending on "woke" cultural priorities, including climate initiatives and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training.

The budget also focuses heavily on Iran, touting the most comprehensive set of sanctions in recent memory, and would block the Biden administration from using any federal funds to conduct diplomacy with Tehran over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal. It also would codify a Trump administration-era order designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, further complicating the administration’s efforts to ease pressure on Tehran.

The budget package highlights glaring gaps between the Biden administration and congressional Republicans when it comes to defense spending and military priorities. It is likely to garner widespread traction in the narrowly GOP-controlled House, setting up a fiscal showdown between the White House and Republicans as Congress works to fund the government through the next year. Senate Republicans have also thrown their support behind many of the proposals in the RSC’s budget—such as tougher sanctions on Iran and eradicating "woke" military spending.

The RSC dedicates a large section of its budget to combating Iran’s global terrorism operation, highlighting Tehran’s efforts to foment chaos across the Middle East in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror strike on Israel, which was carried out with funding and support from the Islamic Republic.

"The Biden administration’s efforts to re-enter the failed Iran nuclear agreement have not led to success," lawmakers write in the proposal. "In fact, Iran’s regime is closer than ever before to a nuclear weapon and has begun enriching uranium close to weapons-grade levels."

The toughest measure included in the package is a proposal by Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), the RSC’s former chairman, that dubs Iran responsible for Hamas’s war on Israel and blocks the United States from lifting any sanctions on Tehran until it ceases support for the terror group.

The measure also stops the Biden administration from issuing a set of contested sanctions waivers that have allowed Iran to continue accessing upwards of $10 billion in frozen funds held in third-party countries. That waiver was renewed by the State Department last week, sparking congressional uproar amid a wave of terror attacks by Iranian proxies in the region.

Another proposal included in the RSC’s budget "would block any taxpayer dollars from being used to advance a nuclear agreement with Iran until it has terminated its cash ties with China and terminated its ties to terrorist groups like Hamas."

The RSC also is backing passage of the MAHSA Act, a bill that would sanction Iran’s supreme leader, legislature, and president for mass human rights abuses. The bill is widely supported by the Iranian-American community and is a response to the Iranian government’s imprisonment, torture, and murder of democratic protesters.

Other legislative measures would slash American funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which are heavily controlled by Iran-backed Hezbollah, and halt assistance to the Iraqi government until it cuts ties with Iranian militias in the country.

The RSC is also spearheading a set of proposals that would slash millions in taxpayer funding for military programs that promote "woke" cultural priorities championed by the Biden administration and the vast majority of Democrats.

"Identity politics and Critical Race Theory (CRT) have no place in our military," the RSC writes in its proposal. "Unfortunately, the Biden administration sees things differently. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seems more interested in ridding military ranks of ‘extremism’ and making climate change a ‘national security priority’ than taking on the real threats we face in China, Russia and Iran."

The bid to ax these programs comes amid a historic military recruitment shortfall, which Republicans say is the result of "woke" political programming. The Army, for instance, announced last month that it is cutting 24,000 positions as a result of the decline in recruitment.

During President Joe Biden’s tenure in office, the Pentagon has "spent almost 6 million man-hours on woke discussions about extremism and ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,’" according to the RSC. "The military also spent 530,000 hours and $477,000 on diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) training." The White House is proposing a $2 billion increase over last year for "climate change initiatives" across the military, bringing total spending to $5.1 billion on these programs.

The RSC budget would entirely "prohibit funding on woke policies in the Department of Defense," including newly created DEI jobs in the armed forces. This includes a ban on "funding for DEI activities and ban teaching [Critical Race Theory] in the U.S. military and in educational institutions under the Department of Defense."

The budget "would also defund all woke programs and priorities in the military, including programs established to further the Democrats’ so-called ‘green’ agenda."