Cruz: Democrats sacrificing the security of our allies

Texas Senator blasts Senate Democrats after they block pro-Israel legislation over the government shutdown.

Elad Benari ,

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday night blasted Senate Democrats after they voted against the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, citing the government shutdown.

As a member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Cruz joined Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and James Risch (R-ID) in support of this bill, which would provide security assistance to Israel, enhance our defense partnership with Jordan, hold the Assad regime in Syria accountable for human rights atrocities, and combat the discriminatory anti-Israel boycott movement.

“Democrats are sacrificing our security and the security of our allies to try to score political points,” Cruz said.

“Today was a missed opportunity for the Senate to unite in order to provide critical assistance and protection to Israel and Jordan, and to show the Assad regime that it cannot continue to commit crimes with impunity,” he added.

The legislation which the Democrats blocked on Tuesday includes three bipartisan measures: The United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2018, which would codify the 2016 memorandum of understanding between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government that guarantees Israel $38 billion in security assistance over 10 years; the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act which would continue the US-Jordan partnership to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and work to promote regional stability, and enhance Jordan’s military capacity; and the Combating BDS Act of 2018 which would reaffirm states and local governments’ authority to identify and divest assets such as pensions, retirement funds or contracts with an entity including a company that engages in commerce related Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activity against Israel.

The bills, which were not passed in the last Congress and were resubmitted last week by Rubio, were defeated 56-44.

Democrats cited the ongoing US government shutdown as their reason for blocking the legislation, and have said they will block the bill until government is reopened.

The anti-BDS legislation had previously been a point of contention, with several Democrats having spoken out against the bill, saying it violates freedom of speech.

One of the legislation’s fiercest opponents has been Independent Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders who caucuses with the Democrats. On Sunday, Sanders tweeted, “It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity.”