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Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Senate advances bill to bolster US-Israel alliance

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The U.S. Senate advanced a bill this week that includes several measures to bolster the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance.

The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 (S. 1) would authorize security assistance to Israel over a 10-year period, reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, provide new authorities for sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime and its supporters, and empower state and local governments in the United States to counter the anti-Israel boycott. It passed in the Senate by a vote of 74-19.

“I commend my colleagues for putting politics aside and supporting this critical bill of bipartisan measures that will keep America and our allies safer and more secure,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who co-authored the bill, said. “It is in America’s national security interests to ensure that our allies in the Middle East like Israel and Jordan remain secure amid the region’s growing destabilizing threats posed by Iran and Syria’s Assad regime. Additionally, this bill will hold the Assad regime and its supporters accountable for the continued human rights violations against the Syrian people. I look forward to the U.S. Senate passing this bill in the coming days and urge Speaker Pelosi to quickly take it up in the House.”

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman James Risch (R-ID), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) also helped draft the bill.

The legislation incorporates four bills that were introduced in 2018: the Rubio-Coons United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2018; the Ros-Lehtinen-Deutch United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act; the Engel-Royce Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2018; and the Rubio-Manchin Combating BDS Act of 2018.