Ex-Clinton running mate questions US arms sales to Israel

On Saturday,  Secretary of State Anthony Blinken authorized the sale to Israel of 155mm projectiles and related equipment valued at $147.5 million. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the vice presidential running mate of Hilary Clinton during her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign, criticized the Biden Administration for selling weapons to Israel without congressional approval, as reported by The Guardian.

The senator along with a group of democratic colleagues voiced their criticism on Saturday of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s authorization of the sale to Israel of 155mm projectiles and related equipment valued at $147.5 million.

Kaine a member of the Senate armed services committee, said the sale should have come under congressional oversight.

He said, “Just as Congress has a crucial role to play in all matters of war and peace, Congress should have full visibility over the weapons we transfer to any other nation.”

Kaine added, “We need a public explanation of the rationale behind this decision – the second such decision this month.”

In November,  President Joe Biden announced a $ 14.3 billion military aid package which represented “an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense.”

On Friday, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the Secretary of State deemed the aid an emergency and in the US interests, and therefore, it did not need congressional approval.

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The Agency “determined and provided detailed justification to Congress that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to the Government of Israel.”

It added, “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

In November, The Biden White House castigated House Republicans over plans to link emergency funding for Israel to cuts to planned spending.

Republicans in the House introduced a bill that would require that the planned $14.3 billion in emergency aid to Israel be offset by cuts to spending in part of the massive Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser Andrew Bates said, “Despite strong bipartisan agreement that the United States must support Israel as it defends itself after the worst terrorist attack in its history, House Republicans are engaging in a dangerous political stunt that for the first time in American history demands emergency national security funding be fully offset.”