(June 19, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. House of Representatives rejected two amendments on Tuesday evening that apparently would have cut foreign aid except to Israel, despite the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s claim that stated otherwise.
Reps. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and Rick Allen (R-Ga.) each introduced an amendment to cut 2.1 percent and 1 percent, respectively, of the State and Foreign Operations budget across the board.
“Just now, the House of Representatives voted to oppose two amendments that would have cut the foreign aid budget and security assistance to Israel. We appreciate the members who stood in support of this cost-effective investment that promotes U.S. interests,” tweeted AIPAC.
Just now, the House of Representatives voted to oppose two amendments that would have cut the foreign aid budget and security assistance to Israel. We appreciate the members who stood in support of this cost-effective investment that promotes U.S. interests.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) June 19, 2019
Grothman told JNS on Wednesday that his and Allen’s amendment would not have touched the $3.3 billion in annual U.S. assistance to Israel.
His office explained that “his amendment was a decrease in the increase to the top-line number. The reason why this is the most important sentence is that it means his amendment had nothing to do with the $3.3 billion allocated to Israel. Whether the amendment was adopted or not, as it wasn’t, Israel still would still receive $3.3 billion in aid should this bill be signed into law, which the Congressman supports.”
Grothman also mentioned his intent to contact AIPAC to clarify in response to the pro-Israel lobby’s tweet.
AIPAC told JNS, “Our understanding is that the language of this amendment would not have excluded those funds.”
Allen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Allen, along with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), introduced a resolution in April reaffirming the importance of America’s economic relationship with Israel. The resolution highlights the many ways that U.S.-Israel economic cooperation has benefited both countries, including encouraging technological innovation and scientific advancement.
“Israel has been one of our most beloved allies, and we must continue to stand in solidarity with this beacon of democracy,” said Allen at the time. “I look forward to advancing our mutually beneficial friendship and partnership with Israel for years to come.”
“I have long opposed amendments that indiscriminately apply an across the board cut to the carefully thought out funding recommendations in each appropriations bill [which] make no provision for protecting high priority programs … such as security assistance to Israel,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.