New House bill promises to help Israel combat existential threats
Amendment ensures Washington’s support in face of Iran’s nuclear program; still requires Senate and presidential support before becoming law
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a defense authorization bill that would make it U.S. policy to take “all necessary steps” to ensure Israel is able to “remove existential threats,” among them nuclear facilities in Iran.
“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,” said the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act passed Friday.
The amendment, initiated by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and first reported by Americans for Peace Now weekly legislative roundup, would require the president to report every 90 days on how the policy is being implemented.
That report would identify “all aerial refueling platforms, bunker-buster munitions, and other capabilities and maintenance by Israel of a robust independent capability to remove existential security threats, including nuclear and ballistic missile facilities in Iran, and defend its vital national interests.”
The language must survive the reconciliation process with the Senate and then be signed by the president in order to become law.
The amendment is similar to a non-binding resolution passed last month in the Senate that urged the president to provide “diplomatic, military, and economic support” to Israel should it be “compelled” to strike Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
The House version of the defense authorization act already included a number of Israel-related measures, including tripling Obama’s request for missile defense cooperation funding from $96 million to $284 million.
The whole act passed Friday 315-108 and Roskam’s amendment passed by voice vote.