U.S. senators who just returned from a trip to Israel on Tuesday called for an increase in the $38 billion in military aid the United States is currently providing Israel, Reuters reported.
Senators Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican foreign policy voice, and Chris Coons, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said they considered the provision of $38 billion over 10 years, “a floor.”
Graham said during a meeting with reporters that he thought provisions in the agreement phasing out an arrangement in which Israel could spend U.S. funds on its own defense industry and the provision of just $500 million in missile defense funding were “short-sighted.”
Coons said tensions in the broader region supported the idea of more funding for Israel, citing the ongoing war in Syria and Iran’s recent use of a stealth drone.
In September of 2016, the United States and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2016 which grants Israel $3.8 billion annually beginning in 2018 and through 2028.
After the memorandum of understanding was signed, Republican senators said they would seek to overturn part of it so that Israel can receive even more aid. Graham was among those senators.
In June of 2017, the House Appropriations Committee and the House and Senate Armed Services Committees advanced U.S.-Israel missile defense assistance and cooperation in the 2018 defense appropriations and authorizations bills.
These committees provided a total of $705 million for research and development and procurement funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense systems.
The funding represents a $558 million increase from President Donald Trump's budget request for these programs, and $105 million over last year’s adopted funding level.