WASHINGTON (Dec. 18)
Congress is rushing the $2.2 billion emergency military aid bill for Israel toward completion and for President Nixon’s signature, hopefully before the Middle East peace conference opens in Geneva. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today approved by a lopsided 15-2 majority an authorization bill identical to one approved last week by the House of Representatives. Committee chairman J. William Fulbright (D.Ark.) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D.Mont.) cast the only negative votes.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the authorization measure and both Houses on the final appropriations measure Thursday. Since the authorization measures in both the House and Senate are identical, that part of the two step process has been completed.
The question of how much of the $2.2 billion will go to Israel in the form of loans and how much as outright grants remains to be resolved by a House-Senate conference committee which meets tomorrow. The motion to provide up to $1.5 billion in grants was introduced by Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D.Minn.) who pointed out that the Yom Kippur War had “cost Israel about $6 billion, more than her entire national budget.” Israel, he said. repays her loans, but is unable to pay any more loans.