The two South Florida congressional representatives who lead the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee scored a win this week as the House passed a measure to help Jordan battle terrorism without opposition.
Back in May, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the subcommittee, teamed up with U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, to bring out the “United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act.”
The South Florida representatives had a number of key allies in pushing this proposal which extends the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act which Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch brought out in 2015. Besides Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch, other sponsors include U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the House State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee chairman; and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-NY, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
The 2015 bill, which was sponsored by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ben Cardin, D-Mary., in the upper chamber, made Jordan eligible under the Arms Export Control Act and increased military cooperation between the U.S. and that Middle Eastern nation. When the bill passed in February 2016, Rubio and other advocates said it would help Jordan deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and battle Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism.
Ros-Lehtinen took to the House floor on Monday to weigh in on why she wanted to extend the U.S. relationship to Jordan until 2022.
“This is a strong, bipartisan bill that underscores the importance of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in helping both of our nations work toward achieving our shared goals of security and stability in the Middle East,” she said. “It acknowledges what we have all known for many years now, and that is that the His Majesty and the Kingdom are indispensable allies in the fight against radicalism and terror in the region.
“Jordan and its military have played integral roles in many of our counter ISIS operations,” Ros-Lehtinen added. “In many ways, our relationship with Jordan has served as a force multiplier and has allowed the coalition to make all of the positive gains we have made over the past year or so. But that would not have been possible without a robust foreign military financing (FMF) program we have in place with our allies in Jordan....Jordan is on the front lines in the fight against terror, and we rely heavily on its cooperation.”
The bill now heads to the Senate.
First elected to Congress in a special election back in 1989, Ros-Lehtinen rose to become the first woman to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She announced last year that this is her last term in Congress.
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