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House Amendment to S. 2497, the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, the House will consider the House Amendment to S. 2497, the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, under suspension of the rules.


Summary

The House Amendment to S. 2497 authorizes the appropriation of $3.3 billion annually over the 2019-2028 period for assistance to Israel under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. The bill authorizes the President to transfer precision guided munitions to Israel. It reauthorizes War Reserves Stockpile Authority and loan guarantees to Israel through FY 2023. It also authorizes the U.S. and Israel to cooperate on counter-UAV research.


Background

In 2016, the U.S. and Israel agreed to a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY 2019 to FY 2028.  As part of that MOU, the U.S. agreed to provide Israel with not less than $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), a form of State Department-funded military aid.  This new MOU will replace the current $30 billion, 10-year agreement, which runs through the end of this fiscal year.  U.S. military assistance for Israel is essential to help Israel maintain its “qualitative military edge” (QME) over neighboring militaries.  FMF provides grants for the acquisition of U.S. defense equipment, services, and training, which promote U.S. national security by contributing to regional and global stability, strengthening military support for democratically-elected governments, and containing transnational threats including terrorism and trafficking in narcotics, weapons, and persons.  FMF grants enable key allies and friends to improve their defense capabilities and foster closer military relationships between the U.S. and recipient nations[1]

According to the bill’s namesake, who was the sponsor of the House companion “As recent events have shown, new threats to Israel are constantly evolving. 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.”[2]


Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing S. 2497 would cost $16.5 billion over the 2019-2023 period.


Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact Ryan Hofmann with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-6674.

115th Congress