Citing the Gaza war as a catalyst, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) re-introduced with broad bipartisan support a bill that would enhance U.S.-Israel strategic ties.
“While we work toward a just peace in the Middle East and an end to the tragedy of war, it is critical that we reaffirm our enduring commitment to Israel’s security and the historic ties between our two nations,” Boxer said in a statement July 28 reintroducing the bill with its lead GOP co-sponsor, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). “This legislation sends a clear message that America’s bond with Israel remains unbreakable, and I am proud that it has the support of more than three-quarters of the Senate.”
The House version of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act passed by 410 to 1 in March, but the Senate bill had been held up since its initial introduction in March 2013. With 79 co-sponsors in its latest iteration, it appears guaranteed to pass. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has made passage of the bill a priority.
In addition to its original provisions that require more frequent assessments of Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region and advancing cooperation in a number of areas, including energy and cyber-security, the new version modifies controversial language concerning a visa-waiver program. — jta