CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 938, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, as amended, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 4, 2013 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.
H.R. 938 first reaffirms the stance of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States. Title I of H.R. 938 makes a number of amendments to the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, including: 1) adding language expressing the sense of Congress that the President should, to the maximum extent practicable, assist in the defense of Israel and protect U.S. interests, and requiring the President to submit a progress report on implementation within 180 days of enactment; 2) making additions to foreign-based defense stockpiles; and 3) requiring the President to submit a biennial report on Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats. Moreover, this legislation authorizes additional assistance for Israel, including; 1) requiring the Secretary of State to submit a report related to Israel’s eligibility determination for Strategic Trade Authorization; 2) treating Israel no less favorably than other members or adherents to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR); 3) directing the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to give preference to providing insurance, financing, or reinsurance for energy and water projects in Israel; 4) authorizing assistance for cooperation in the fields of energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies; and 5) authorizing cooperative research pilot programs to enhance Israel’s border security, explosives detection, and emergency services.
H.R. 938 also establishes the sense of Congress that the U.S. and Israel should take steps to explore avenues to increase cooperation on cyber-security. In addition, H.R. 938 urges the President to, upon request by the government of Israel, to aid in the enhancement of the David’s Sling Weapon System, the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow Weapon System, and the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system. Moreover, H.R. 938 establishes that the U.S. and Israel should expeditiously conclude an update Memorandum of Understanding regarding U.S. security assistance in order to help Israel meet its unique security requirements and uphold its qualitative military edge (QME).This legislation also states that it should be U.S. policy to include Israel in the list of countries that participate in the visa waiver program under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act as long as Israel satisfies the requirements for inclusion in the program, and establishes the sense of Congress that the State Department should increase its coordination with the State of Israel to combat anti-Semitism. Finally, this legislation amends the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to extend the grant program for U.S.-Israeli cooperation on research, development, and commercialization of renewable energy or energy efficiency.
 See H.R. 938, p. 5.
According to CBO, H.R. 938 would authorize $3 million for fiscal year 2014 and would cost $13 million over the 2014-2019 period, assuming appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts. H.R. 938 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.