(December 16, 2021 / JNS) After months of trying to get the details worked out, the Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2022, including collaboration provisions and authorized extra funding for projects with Israel.
The annual NDAA—the final version of which had to be negotiated behind closed doors by members of the House and Senate Armed Services committee—passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the Senate vote, the bill got a bipartisan plurality of 88-11, with Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) originally voting for it, but then coming back to the floor and changing his vote to “no.”
AIPAC and other pro-Israel organizations congratulated the senators for passing the bill, highlighting those who worked to push through pro-Israel provision in a series of tweets.
The list of pro-Israel provisions includes the authorization of $500 million for U.S.-Israeli missile-defense cooperation, collaborating on systems such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow 3.
Another provision authorizes $30 million for bilateral cyber cooperation found in the U.S.-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act, which was included as an amendment to the NDAA.
Provisions in the bill require Israel to spend the money in the United States, which keeps Americans and Israelis safe; “supports our economy; and creates American jobs,” AIPAC said in the tweet.
“A strong Israel makes America more secure. Today, Democrats and Republicans again came together to strengthen and expand the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said AIPAC.
Michael Makovsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), who has long argued for closer cooperation between the U.S. military and Israel in the face of the Iranian threat, also expressed support but believes Congress should do more.
“JINSA applauds congressional passage of the 61st annual NDAA, which fully supports the U.S. military, U.S. security cooperation programs with Israel and authorizes funding for the Iron Dome, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling missile-defense systems co-produced with the United States,” he said. “However, it is unfortunate that this year’s bill does not expedite Israel’s request for KC-46 aerial refueling tankers or replenish precision-guided munitions, over 4,500 of which Israel expended during last spring’s conflict with Hamas.
“As Iran moves ever closer to nuclear breakout, Congress and the Biden administration should act without delay in providing Israel the means to defend itself,” said Makovsky.
‘They got a lot of things right’
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) also applauded the bill’s passage and highlighted a part that it had a hand in helping to promote.
“We may often find ourselves frustrated with congressional discord, but on the NDAA, they got a lot of things right. We are particularly pleased to see one of CUFI’s three Summit legislative priorities—the U.S.-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act (Sec. 1551)—included in the bill,” CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee said in a news release on Wednesday, thanking the senators who ensured the act was made part of the bill.
“Now is the time for the Senate to move forward with legislation (H.R. 5323), restocking Israel’s Iron Dome supply,” added Hagee. “This is a vital matter that has been held up for far too long by fringe members of both parties. Congressional leaders defied the radical elements of their parties on the NDAA; they can, should and must do the same on support for Israel’s Iron Dome supply.”
CUFI also applauded the inclusion of funding authorization for missile-defense systems, as well as the creation of an interparliamentary group working to limit Turkey’s aggression in the region. This group is made up of the United States, Cyprus, Greece and Israel.
The NDAA also includes several amendments to prevent funds from being transferred to Iran or its proxies and requires new reports on Iran’s military and support for terrorist groups.
The NDAA does not actually allocate funds, but only authorizes their use. It will now be sent to the president’s desk, where he is expected to sign it in the coming days.
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