From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is championing a proposal ensuring the U.S. continues to support Israel.
On Tuesday, Rubio teamed up with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., to unveil the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act” in the Senate.
The bill continues the funding levels for American support for Israel set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two nations back in 2016. The proposal continues those levels for an additional five years, extending it to FY2019-23.
“With Israel facing evolving threats from Iran, Syria’s Assad regime, Hezbollah, Hamas and other malign actors, this bipartisan legislation will enable the United States to further strengthen our critical strategic alliance with Israel,” Rubio said. “It is consistent with America’s national security interests and moral values to ensure that Israel, a fellow democracy and our most important ally in the Middle East, remains safe and secure amid the region’s growing dangers.”
“On my recent bipartisan CODEL to the Middle East, I saw the real security challenges facing Israel. Congress must remain clear-eyed about both current and emerging regional threats as we strengthen our strategic partnership with Israel,” said Coons. “I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Rubio, which represents the continuation of America’s decades-long unshakable, bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues and Israel to ensure regional stability and meet shared threats to our security in the next decade and beyond.”
Last week, 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.---brought out the same proposal in the House.
On Thursday, the two representatives released a joint statement on the matter.
“As recent events have shown, new threats to Israel are constantly evolving,” they said. “Israel has no choice but to adapt to these changes, and to do so, it is going to need continued and expanded assistance from and cooperation with the United States. Our two nations share a long, close and strategic relationship based on mutual interests and mutual ideals. Our bill recognizes the need for increased assistance to Israel to defend herself, protect Israeli citizens from current threats, and address new and emerging threats to Israel and our mutual interests. With this bill, Congress has a unique opportunity to advance our own national security interests, help defend and increase cooperation with one of our closest allies, and get back in the business of authorizing foreign assistance. We look forward to working with our colleagues to pass the United States-Israel Security Assistance Act with overwhelming bipartisan support.”