US Senators seek to improve Obama’s military aid deal with Israel

Four US Senators have objected to a provision in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding which prevents Israel from asking for additional funds from Congress, arguing that US law gives Congress sole control over spending.

A group of four US Senators have launched an effort to modify the $38 billion deal on military aid by the US to the Jewish state, saying it needs improvement and Israel should receive a larger aid pack.

Senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain and Ted Cruz told a news conference they had filed a measure to give Israel an additional 1.5 billion dollars in military aid, while renewing US sanctions on Iran, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The senators launched their campaign just days after the agreement was signed.

The senators objected to a provision preventing Israel from asking for additional funds from Congress outside the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), arguing that US law gives Congress control of spending.

The senators also objected to Israel’s agreement to return any money if Congress tries to send it more than 3.8 billion dollars per year before then.

Graham also said he would introduce legislation to annul a provision in the agreement that has Israel spending the funds solely in the US market, as opposed to spending a quarter of it in Israel, as has been the case until now.

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“This is a very dramatic moment in the US-Israel relationship between Congress and the state of Israel,” Graham stated. “Congress is not going to sit on the sidelines.”

The senators insisted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to sign the MOU due to Iran’s growing threat as it obtains billions of dollars unfrozen under the nuclear agreement signed last year.

Israel ‘Left Money on the Table’

Speaking after the signing of the agreement last week, Graham said Israel made a mistake by signing the security deal with the Obama administration, and that Netanyahu could have gotten a better deal if he had waited until President Barack Obama left office.

A new US president, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, would be more generous too, he said.

“They left money on the table,” Graham said of Israel.

The Obama administration is trying to “neuter” Congress by undercutting its ability to appropriate money, according to Graham. “I will not stand for that,” he said.

Graham said lawmakers this year wanted to give Israel $600 million for missile defense — $100 million more than the agreement proposes to provide in 2019 when the threats Israel is facing from Iran and Islamic terrorist groups are expected to be even more pronounced. Graham said he also pushed for a $300 million hike in the foreign military financing account.

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Iran, Graham said, will view the new agreement as a “watering down” of the US commitment to Israel.

By: World Israel News Staff