The two South Florida representatives in charge of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee—chairwoman U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and ranking Democrat U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.---scored a win this week as the U.S. House passed their “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act” on Wednesday by voice vote.
The name of the bill was changed to honor Ros-Lehtinen who is retiring after almost three decades in Congress. During that time, she was the first woman to ever lead the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“This bill codifies the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel that resulted in an unprecedented $38 billion in security assistance over ten years. The bill also ensures Israel has access to the weapons needed to defend itself against any and all threats, enhances Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge to better address evolving threats, and authorizes new cooperation on drones, space, and global humanitarian projects,” Deutch’s office noted on Wednesday.
"My friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout her time in Congress, and it is a fitting honor that this bill to strengthen the US-Israel relationship bears her name," Deutch said. "Israel is under constant threat from every direction. A threat to Israel, our strategic ally in a turbulent region, is also a threat to our national security. Enhancing Israel’s security is a step toward strengthening our own national security. This bill will significantly enhance Israel's Qualitative Military Edge over its enemies and improve bilateral cooperation on cybersecurity and space issues. Passage of the bill sends a powerful message of bipartisan American support for Israel and our continued investment in its security."
Both Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch took to the House floor on Wednesday to urge the House to pass the bill.
“I’m proud to have authored the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act, ensuring security aid to our strategic partner Israel and more collaboration on everything from emerging threats to drones," Ros-Lehtinen noted, adding she was “humbled to have my colleagues rename bill after me.”
“My friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's long and decorated career, as historic as it was effective, will live on through her indelible mark on our robust foreign policy, especially her important achievements to strengthen the US-Israel relationship,” Deutch insisted. “The nation is grateful for your service.”
The U.S. Senate passed its version of the bill, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and had more than 70 cosponsors, at the start of last month.
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