US legislators tie defense budget to Israeli security

The House of Representatives passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires the US to support Israel in removing existential threats.

Against the backdrop of the Iranian elections, the US House of Representatives continues to tighten the administration's commitment to Israel's security. The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed by a large majority on Friday, includes an amendment that requires the US to ensure that Israel can defend itself against "existential threats".

The amendment, initiated by Representative Peter Roskam (Republican, Illinois), states, "It is the policy of the United States to take all necessary steps to ensure that Israel possesses and maintains an independent capability to remove existential threats to its security and defend its vital national interests."

"It is the Sense of the Congress that air refueling tankers and advanced bunker-buster munitions should immediately be transferred to Israel to ensure our democratic ally has an independent capability to remove any existential threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program and defend its vital national interests."

The measure requires the President to regularly submit to Congress a report confirming that the US has taken all steps necessary to ensure that Israel maintains an independent capability to remove existential threats to its security and defend its vital national interests, says Roskam.

Americans for Peace Now revealed the Roskam amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

An amendment offered in the Defense Authorization Act "prohibits the authorization of Defense Department funds for tear gas and other riot control items to Middle East and North African countries undergoing democratic transition unless the Secretary of Defense certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that the security forces of such countries are not using excessive force to repress peaceful, lawful and organized dissent." This provision does not apply to Israel's use of tear gas in West Bank, since Israel is not a country "undergoing a transition to democracy in the Middle East."

The Defense Authorization Act triples funding for US-Israeli missile defense programs, including the Arrow, but excluding Iron Dome, from $96 million to $284 million in fiscal year 2014. It increases funding for Iron Dome from the $15 million, requested by Pentagon, to $220.3 million.

The argument for increasing funding for Iron Dome is the possible need for Iron Dome production capability in the US. In contrast to other anti-missile programs, such as the Arrow and David's Sling, Israel has exclusive intellectual property to the Iron Dome, but some US representatives want to increase US involvement in production of the system and to upgrade it, according to the "Jewish Telegraphic Agency".

The House of Representatives passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act 315-108. Roskam’s amendment was passed by voice vote. The House version of the bill must survive the reconciliation process with the Senate and then signed by President Barack Obama to become law.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 16, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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