U.S. House Votes to Strengthen Ties with Israel
The United States House of Representatives approved legislation late Tuesday afternoon by voice vote that reaffirms U.S. strategic and military ties with Israel.
The bill restates the U.S. commitment to supply Israel with arms to defend itself, and pledges to fight anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, The Hill reported.
The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, S. 2165, is an amended version of a House bill that was approved back in May.
Before approving the bill in late June, the Senate added language that extends the authority of the United States to store weapons in Israel that it could provide Israel in the case of an emergency.
The bill also calls on the United States to produce an "Iron Dome" defense system for Israel, to intercept short-range missiles and to study how it could speed the sale of F-35 fighter planes to the Jewish state.
The pro-Israel legislation easily passed in May, but members reaffirmed their support for it in a debate on Tuesday, according to The Hill.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), both spoke in strong support of the bill and stressed their ongoing commitment to thwart Iran's efforts to undermine Israel. "Today ... we will send this bipartisan bill to the president and deliver the message that during this pivotal and dangerous period in the Middle East, the United States stands tall for our ally Israel," Cantor said.
"Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, as it would dramatically destabilize the region, and Iran's leaders have already threatened American targets in that part of the world," Hoyer said.
Members of the House also approved legislation by voice vote that would require the State Department to report on whether the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan should be designated as a terrorist organization. That bill, S. 1959, was approved after the House amended it to make it clear that the Congress recommends a terrorist designation for the group, The Hill reported.
The addition of that language will send it back to the Senate, which approved the first version in December.