June 27, 2024

Ricketts, Risch Introduce Legislation to Provide Congressional Oversight of Arms Sales to Israel

June 27, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE) and Jim Risch (R-ID), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently introducedthe Maintaining Our Ironclad Commitment to Israel’s Security Act. The bill provides congressional oversight of proposed changes to arms sales to Israelfollowing the Biden administration’s pausing of an arms shipment in May.Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are also co-sponsors.

“The Biden administration’s repeated wavering on the ‘ironclad commitment’ they claim to have with Israel is a clear case for stronger congressional oversight,” said Ricketts. “As Israel fights for its existence and survival, Congress must ensure the President follows through on the promises we’ve made to one of our most strategic allies.”

“The Biden Administration’s decision to unilaterally pause a shipment of weapons to Israel in May without any prior notification or consultation with Congress not only broke with procedure, but also sent a message to our allies and adversaries alike that the United States cannot be relied upon to follow through on its commitments,” said Risch. “This legislation rightfully reasserts Congress’ role in overseeing arms sales to Israel. I will continue to do everything in my power to support our ally in its time of need and hold the administration accountable for any missteps it takes in this regard.”

“The U.S. must stand firmly in support of its strongest ally in the Middle East, Israel. The Jewish State continues to face increased threats from Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists as well as from the Iranian regime and its proxies,” said Rubio. “While the Biden Administration has weakened our support of Israel, including pausing weapons deliveries authorized by Congress, it is crucial we are able to conduct proper oversight over the administration’s actions that further erode Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

“President Biden’s foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and caused our allies to doubt us. Israel has every right to defend itself, and we should not be standing in their way,” said Scott. “This administration clearly needs to ensure that the will of Congress to support our greatest ally in the Middle East is not being undermined. Standing with Israel and ensuring they succeed in their effort to eliminate the terrorist threat posed by Hamas is the only path forward.”

This legislation:

  • Expresses a sense of Congress that all previously negotiated and approved arms sales to Israel should proceed and all pauses should be lifted.
  • Requires the president to notify Congress at least 15 legislative days in advance of any action to pause, suspend, delay, or abrogate the delivery of defense articles and services to Israel.
  • The notification is required to include a policy justification for the action, impact on U.S. national security interests, and an assessment of whether the action adversely affects Israel’s qualitative military edge.
  • Provides Congress an opportunity following the notification to pass a Joint Resolution disapproving of the president’s actions, during which time the president may not further delay arms sales to Israel.

Text of the legislation can be found here.