CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, as amended, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was originally introduced on March 5, 2012, by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
H.R. 4133 would state that it is U.S. policy to: reaffirm the commitment to Israel's security as a Jewish state; provide Israel with the military capabilities to defend itself by itself against any threats; veto any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council; support Israel’s inherent right to self-defense; expand military and civilian cooperation; assist in a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states living side by side in peace and security and to encourage Israel's neighbors to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
The bill would also state that the United States should take the following actions to assist in the defense of Israel:
(1) Provide Israel such support as may be necessary to increase development and production of joint missile defense systems, particularly such systems that defend the urgent threat posed to Israel and United States forces in the region.
(2) Provide Israel assistance specifically for the production and procurement of the Iron Dome defense system for purposes of intercepting short-range missiles, rockets, and projectiles launched against Israel.
(3) Provide Israel defense articles and defense services through such mechanisms as appropriate, to include air refueling tankers, missile defense capabilities, and specialized munitions.
(4) Allocate additional weaponry and munitions for the forward-deployed United States stockpile in Israel.
(5) Provide Israel additional surplus defense articles and defense services, as appropriate, in the wake of the withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq.
(6) Strengthen efforts to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza pursuant to the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and to protect against weapons smuggling and terrorist threats from the Sinai Peninsula.
(7) Offer the Israeli Air Force additional training and exercise opportunities in the United States to compensate for Israel’s limited air space.
(8) Expand Israel’s authority to make purchases under the Foreign Military Financing program on a commercial basis.
(9) Seek to enhance the capabilities of the United States and Israel to address emerging common threats, increase security cooperation, and expand joint military exercises.
(10) Encourage an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises.
(11) Support extension of the long-standing loan guarantee program for Israel, recognizing Israel’s unbroken record of repaying its loans on time and in full.
(12) Expand already-close intelligence cooperation, including satellite intelligence, with Israel.
The bill would state that it is U.S. policy to help Israel preserve its “qualitative military edge” amid rapid and uncertain regional political transformation and to encourage further development of advanced technology programs between the United States and Israel. The bill would require the president to submit to Congress a report on Israel’s qualitative military edge in light of current trends and instability in the region.
Additionally, the bill would require the president to submit to Congress a report on Israel’s request to purchase the F-35 aircraft, efforts to expand cooperation between the United States and Israel in homeland security, counter-terrorism, maritime security, energy, cybersecurity, and other appropriate areas, as well as efforts to integrate Israel into the defense of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Lastly, the bill would extend the authority under Chapter 5 of title I of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (P.L. 108–11), as amended, to provide loan guarantees to Israel through September 30, 2015.
According to a press release from the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “this bipartisan legislation affirms the deep military and security ties forged over the past few years between the United States and the State of Israel, and reflects the consensus of Congress that they ought to continue. It also reiterates U.S. policy affirming Israel’s right to defend itself against threats and America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, recognizing that a secure Israel will always be in America’s national interest, especially as our nations work together to combat the threat of terrorism around the world and the danger posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which carries the risk of destabilizing the region.”
“The ties that bind the United States and Israel are cemented by our mutual dedication to freedom, opportunity and democracy. We must support our ally and send a message that the United States and Israel will always stand together. Today, my friend Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and I are introducing legislation to reaffirm our enduring commitment to the US-Israel strategic relationship and to ensure that threats to Israeli and American security will be answered with strength,” Majority Leader Cantor said.
There was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this legislation.