While the U.S. Congress braces for a battle over the nation's budget -- even as the countdown begins towards an impending government shutdown Friday night -- 11 GOP senators have vowed continued financial support for Israel.
The freshman senators all signed a letter spearheaded by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reaffirming their support for Israel's foreign aid, Politico reports. The letter was delivered to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Wednesday. Security-related funding to Israel stands at more than $3 billion annually.
"As we work to reduce wasteful government spending we recognize that providing for the national defense is a constitutional responsibility of the federal government," the letter said. "Therefore we must continue to prioritize the safety of our nation and the security of our allies, including Israel."
The senators also made reference to the recent upheavals that have swept the Middle East, toppling at least two longtime governments -- Egypt and Tunisia -- and threatening to bring down several others as well. Many have been violent.
"Given the uncertainty of these events, and in light of the ongoing threats from Hizbullah, Hamas and a nuclear Iran, we believe that U.S. security assistance to Israel will continue to be a key national security interest," the letter went on.
Only two freshman GOP senators withheld their signatures from the letter: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.