Sep 19 2014

Blunt, Boxer Praise Unanimous Senate Passage Of U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act

Bipartisan Bill Would Strengthen Economic & Security Ties Between The Two Countries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) praised the Senate’s unanimous passage last night of the “United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014,” bipartisan legislation that would help strengthen economic and security cooperation between the two countries. The Boxer-Blunt bill was co-sponsored by a total of 81 Senators.

“America’s long-standing relationship and strong cooperation with Israel dates back to the presidency of fellow Missourian Harry S. Truman,” said Blunt. “I’m pleased the Senate has passed this bipartisan bill to reaffirm and broaden the important U.S.-Israel alliance through security, energy, and trade during this critical time in the Middle East region.”

“I thank every one of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this extremely important bill, which reaffirms the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel,” said Boxer. “This bipartisan bill strengthens cooperation between our two countries on a wide range of issues from defense to energy, ensures Israel has the resources to defend herself in an emergency, and affirms Israel’s ability to participate in the visa waiver program as long as she meets existing requirements.”

The legislation reaffirms the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and the strong, historic U.S.-Israel relationship. It supports efforts to deepen U.S.-Israeli cooperation on defense, and reaffirms that the U.S. will continue to provide robust security assistance to Israel, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System.  The bill also reiterates U.S. support for a negotiated political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians that results in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

Specifically, the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014:

  • Expresses the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States.
  • Authorizes an increase of $200 million in the value of U.S. weapons held in Israel, to a total of $1.8 billion. This stockpile is intended for use by U.S. forces in the event of a crisis, but it can also be used by Israel in the event of an emergency with Israel reimbursing the U.S. for any weapons used.
  • Requires the Administration to take steps toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products.
  • Authorizes the President to carry out cooperation between the U.S. and Israel on a range of policy areas including energy, water, homeland security, and alternative fuel technologies. And it requires the President to study the feasibility of expanding U.S.-Israel cooperation on cyber security.
  • States that it shall be the policy of the United States to include Israel in the list of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program when Israel satisfies, and as long as Israel continues to satisfy, the requirements for inclusion in the program.
  • Requires the Administration to provide more frequent and more detailed assessments on the status of Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
  • Strengthens collaboration between the U.S. and Israel on energy development and encourages increased cooperation between the two countries’ academic, business and governmental sectors.