Washington (Oct. 31)
The Senate’s surprise defeat of the Nixon administration’s $3.2 billion foreign aid bill last Friday deprived Israel of a $200 million grant-in-aid which would have been its first since 1964. It also killed House approved individual allocations amounting to $20 million to be distributed among a dozen Israeli institutions such as schools and hospitals. But knowledgeable observers on Capitol Hill expressed confidence today ‘hat the grants ear-marked for Israel would eventually be restored. The Senate vote did not affect the $500 million in military procurement credits for Israel which Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D., Wash.) attached to the 1971 foreign military sales act. The 1971 fiscal year ended last June 30.
Jackson announced last month that he would move “at the earliest practicable opportunity” for legislation to extend a new line of military credit to Israel in the amount of $500 million for the purchase of additional Phantom jets. Aides to Jackson, queried today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, reiterated this and said the Senator would probably act soon in view of the Senate’s vote Friday.
Part of the $3.2 billion aid bill that was killed contained an administration provision for $485 million in military credits for a number of countries, none of them named. It was learned on good authority that $300 million of that amount was for Israel. It was also learned that the legislation Jackson promised in a Sept. 23 speech on the Senate floor was intended to safeguard the administration’s proviso and to increase the allocation for Israel to $500 million. Jackson aides told the JTA that he might introduce the measure as an amendment to the upcoming defense appropriations bill.
ALLOCATIONS MAY BE RESTORED
The $200 million grant-in-aid to Israel was reduced to $85 million by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Sen. J. William Fulbright (D.,Ark.) but was never voted by the Senate. The Fulbright committee similarly reduced the individual allocations for Israeli institutions to $16 million and spread it over more than a dozen beneficiaries. Observers said today that the Senate can follow one of two courses this week.
It can enact continuing legislation which would virtually restore the $3.2 billion foreign aid package or it can re-introduce the more popular parts of the package piecemeal. Observers said the former possibility was highly unlikely since it was opposed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D.,Mont.) and others. But the latter procedure was given a good chance to succeed. Knowledgeable sources said Israel stood a better chance of having its allocations restored than many other countries.