Senate Dems push to require that Biden consult Congress on weapons sales to Israel

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks during a Senate committee hearing, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Sen. Tim Kaine speaks during a Senate committee hearing, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Senate Democrats are pushing to prevent the Biden administration from bypassing Congress when approving weapons sales to Israel as the Jewish state continues its war against Hamas under increasing scrutiny.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia will be introducing an amendment next week that if passed would strike language in the $118 billion national security supplemental allowing for the administration to expedite funding for any future arms sales to Israel without first notifying Congress.

The larger border legislation is increasingly at risk of dying in the Senate amid bipartisan opposition, making it unlikely that the Israel provision will see a vote. Yet the push from Kaine and the majority of the Senate Democratic caucus is the latest example of the growing critique from those in President Joe Biden’s party regarding his handling of the bloody, ongoing war between Israel and Hamas and America’s increasing role in it.

“Congress and the American people deserve full transparency about military assistance to all nations,” Kaine said in a statement to The Associated Press. “No president of any party should bypass Congress on issues of war, peace, and diplomacy.”

The amendment, which has the backing from the chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence committees, comes after Biden went around lawmakers twice in December to send more than $250 million of weaponry to Israel. Bypassing Congress with emergency determinations for arms sales is an unusual step that has in past administrations been met with resistance from lawmakers who normally have a period of at least 15 to 30 days to weigh in on proposed weapons transfers and, in some cases, block them.

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