CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the House will consider S. 2673, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules. S. 2673 was introduced on July 28, 2014 by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and passed in the Senate, with an amendment, by unanimous consent. On March 5th the House passed similar legislation, HR 938, by a vote of 410 to 1.
S. 2673 expresses the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States. The bill extends for one year the Department of Defense’s authority to transfer certain obsolete or surplus stockpiles to Israel, and extends authority to make additions to foreign-based defense stockpiles for use as war reserve stocks through FY 2015. S. 2673 authorizes additional assistance for Israel, including 1) directing the President to take steps so that Israel may be included in the list of countries eligible for the strategic trade authorization exception to certain export control licensing requirements; and 2) authorizing the President to cooperate with Israel in the fields of energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies. The bill states that it should be the policy of the U.S. 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.
S. 2673 requires the President to report to Congress on the feasibility and advisability of expanding U.S.-Israeli cooperation on cyber issues. S. 2673 also requires the President to regularly update Congress on current and future efforts to fulfill the objectives of Section 4 of the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (22 U.S.C. 8603) to provide Israel with defense articles and services, including missile defense capabilities such as Iron Dome, security and intelligence cooperation, and an expanded role for Israeli cooperation with NATO. Existing law requires a determination that any proposed sale or export of defense articles to a country in the Middle East other than Israel will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge. S. 2673 amends this provision to require the following in such a determination: 1) an explanation of Israel’s capacity to address the improved capabilities provided by such sale or export; 2) an evaluation of how the sale or export alters the regional strategic and tactical balance; 3) an identification of any new capacity or training that Israel may require to address the region or country-specific capabilities provided by such sale or export; and 4) a description of any additional U.S. security assurances to Israel that are made, or requested to be made, in connection with or as a result of such sale or export.
S. 2673 significantly expands U.S.-Israel energy cooperation, and extends through September 30, 2024 the grant program to support the U.S.-Israel research, development, and commercialization of renewable energy or energy efficiency. The scope of the covered energy under such program is expanded to include coverage of natural gas energy, water desalination improvement, and other water treatment technologies. S. 2673 directs the Secretary of State to continue ongoing diplomacy efforts to 1) support Israel’s energy security; and 2) promote constructive regional energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.