House Approves $1.1T Funding Bill with Discriminatory Visa Waiver Legislation

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Omnibus spending bill, a $1.1 trillion dollar spending package to fund the government, that includes the problematic, discriminatory visa waiver legislation that the American Iranian Council has been advocating against in recent weeks. In the lower chamber, the vote was 316 in favor and 113 against. We are now monitoring the deliberations in the Senate, which is expected to vote on it later today. President Obama has also indicated that he will sign into law the omnibus, despite the discriminatory consequences of the visa waiver legislation.

The visa waiver legislation was included toward the end of the 2,000 page spending bill; it would bar citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries who have traveled to Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Sudan since March 2011 or those who hold dual nationality of those four countries from the visa waiver in order to travel to the United States. The AIC has maintained that this policy is discriminatory and that it will do further harm to US-Iran relations including to the recently-adopted nuclear accord. The Council has been in contact with the Office of the President and is now in contact with its general counsel to determine what the best strategy will be to ultimately reverse this harmful legislation. We will continue to oppose this legislation and update our supporters on its trajectory in the coming months.

Please support our efforts to oppose this discriminatory legislation and to achieve our core mission of normalized US-Iran relations by making a 100% tax-deductible donation today.


Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.