The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a bill that urges for the US State Department to either list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization or justify the reason for not doing so.
"The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 17-10 the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3892), which calls on the State Department to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization in order to better protect national security," read a statement published by the House of Representatives' official website on February 24.
"It has supported Islamist terrorism directly through fundraising and extortion, and has been designated as a terrorist organization by several US allies in the Middle East," the statement added.
The bill's sponsor, US Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, told Al-Monitor that he was not lobbied by the United Arab Emirates or Egypt and has based his decision on the group's track record, claiming that the Obama administration has been too soft on the organization.
"This is an issue to me that, just knowing their history, seems like a no-brainer," Diaz-Balart told Al-Monitor.
According to Sputnik news agency and Sawa radio station, the bill gives the US State Department 60 days as a deadline after it is officially approved by Congress to submit a report designating whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.
The bill will not be valid unless the Senate, House of Representatives and White House approve it.
According to Fox News, if the measure is signed into law individuals who have ties to to the Muslim Brotherhood and are not US citizens will be denied entry to the country. In addition, individuals who provide material or financial support to the group could face criminal penalties.
A similar bill in 2014 supported by former US Representative Michele Bachmann sought to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization but failed to reach President Barack Obama's desk, according to The Hill. At the time, Bachmann alleged that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the organization, a statement that was condemned by both Republicans and Democrats.
The bill's approval by the House Judiciary Committee comes two months after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States following the the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” said Trump in early December.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia have designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and have called on the United States to take a similar stance.