Four national security bills sponsored by Nunn await House vote

By: - August 4, 2023 2:25 pm

Rep. Zach Nunn has co-sponsored a bill aimed at money laundering related to illegal fentanyl and narcotic operations. (Photo by Getty Images)

Rep. Zach Nunn has four national security bills waiting for votes by the U.S. House when the body returns to Washington in September. 

Each of the bills focuses on foreign countries’ influence on U.S. national security, particularly discouraging global reliance on Russian agriculture and Chinese finances impacting terrorists groups, and money laundering surrounding fentanyl distribution.

The four bills’ introduction dates range from April to late July. Either sponsored or cosponsored by Nunn, each advanced through the House Financial Services Committee July 26 and are ready to be voted on by the entire body.

Stop Fentanyl Money Laundering Act

To tackle fentanyl, a topic commonly associated with the U.S. southern border, Nunn cosponsored a bill to investigate money laundering by foreign groups.  

This legislation would provide authority to the U.S. secretary of the treasury to investigate money laundering concerns with entities outside the U.S. connected to illicit fentanyl and narcotic financing, as well as “other purposes,” according to the bill’s text

U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn is a Republican from Altoona. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature)

“Working to reform our broken immigration system, end the humanitarian crisis, and stop fentanyl trafficking should not be a partisan issue, which is why it’s so important to work across the aisle on this issue,” Nunn said in a news release.

The legislation was introduced in May, near the time Title 42, a pandemic-related immigration policy, expired. It will head to the House floor to be voted on nearly four months later.

Five Republicans and one Democrat introduced the legislation.


No Russian Agriculture Act

Another foreign-focused bill by Nunn aims to coordinate less global reliance on Russian agriculture.

“Food security is national security,” Nunn said in a news release. “As we’ve seen during Russia’s recent war on Ukraine, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is unafraid to weaponize agricultural exports as a war tactic. The world cannot be reliant on Russia or other adversaries in any way but especially not to get the food we need.”

The bill addresses all Russian agricultural commodities, and fertilizer and grain specifically. 

The bill states the secretary of the treasury would instruct U.S. executives at each international financial institution to use U.S. voice, vote and influence to encourage projects to decrease reliance on Russian agricultural commodities.

The bill also asks the executives to ensure resilience of global grain supply and to stimulate private investment in projects decreasing reliance on Russian agriculture. 

The bill was introduced by Nunn and Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California. It passed out of committee by a vote of 49-0 to head to the House floor. 

Exposing China’s Support for the Taliban Act

Another bipartisan bill cosponsored by Nunn aims to stop Chinese support for the Taliban. 

China doesn’t hesitate to use relationships with terrorist groups like the Taliban to expand their global influence,” Nunn said in a news release.

The bill would prompt a review of financial activities by the Chinese government and Chinese companies that support narcotic transactions, exploitation of natural resources and terrorist networks. 

Additionally, it would prompt a review in Afghanistan to assess financial, commercial and economic activities by the Chinese government that attempt to counter American strategies.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lunch, a Democrat from Massachusetts, with Nunn as the sole cosponsor. 

Financial Technology Protection Act

Nunn’s Financial Technology Protection Act would create a working group to combat money laundering, terrorist activity and other illicit financing,

“Digital assets are quickly emerging as a major way in which we spend money,” Nunn said in a news release. “I want to ensure every American has access and is protected. This bipartisan bill will help ensure the United States is prepared to address security risks and prevent illicit money laundering while also protecting freedom for all Americans. We must do both simultaneously to ensure the long-term integrity of digital assets.”

The working group would create reports detailing potential uses of digital assets by countries and foreign terrorist organizations to threaten U.S. national security, as well as a plan to mitigate use of digital assets for such purposes.

The working group would be comprised of senior level representation from various Department of the Treasury and Department of Justice groups as well as five people appointed by the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. The working group would report to the heads of each of the agencies listed annually for three years. 

The bill was introduced by Nunn and Rep. James Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut and has since been cosponsored by three Republicans, Reps. Warren Davidson of Ohio, Michael Lawler of New York and William Timmons, IV of South Carolina. 


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Jay Waagmeester
Jay Waagmeester

Jay is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch intern. Jay is based in Ames and is currently a senior majoring in journalism and marketing at Iowa State University. He has interned at New Century Press and contributed to the Iowa State Daily.