With buzz growing that he could run for governor next year, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. House National Security Subcommittee, has taken aim at Iran in recent days.
Last week, DeSantis brought out the “State Sanctions Against Iranian Terrorism Act" to ensure states can continue to keep sanctions on that Middle Eastern nation. Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation ensuring the Florida Retirement System does not invest in companies working with the Iranian government which DeSantis noted as he unveiled his proposal on Wednesday.
“Over thirty states, including Florida, have taken a stand against the Iranian regime by passing divestment or sanction measures,” DeSantis said. “Strengthening state authority to issue sanctions against the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will bolster our national security.”
Five Republicans in the Florida delegation--U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Bill Posey, Francis Rooney, Dennis Ross and John Rutherford--signed on as original co-sponsors. The bill was sent to the House Financial Services and the Rules committees last week.
DeSantis did score a win last week as the House included his proposal banning the U.S. from purchasing heavy water from Iran was included in the Defense appropriations bill.
“The United States should not use taxpayer money to subsidize Iran’s dangerous nuclear activities through the purchase of heavy water," DeSantis said on Thursday after his bill was rolled into the appropriations act. “We must ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the Obama administration by enabling this Islamist regime. I applaud my colleagues for voting to put this prohibition into law and ending the flow of taxpayer dollars to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
First elected to Congress in 2012, DeSantis has garnered attention as a possible candidate for statewide office in the future. A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, DeSantis served as in the Navy JAG Corps. DeSantis waged a brief campaign for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last year. When Rubio decided at the last moment to run for a second term in the Senate, DeSantis dropped out of the race and ran for a third term in the House. DeSantis is generating buzz as a potential candidate for state office in 2018, being urged by the conservative Madison Project, which backed his Senate bid, to run for governor. He’s also considered a possible candidate in next year’s state attorney general’s race.