Senate and House Committees Increase Aid to Israel

The Reagan Administration appears not to be concerned about the increase in its recommended military and economic assistance to Israel voted by Senate and House committees. But there were indications today that the Administration hopes that the increases can be blocked before final Congressional approval is taken.

This reaction emerged today after the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 18-5 yesterday to increase the economic assistance to Israel for the 1984 fiscal year from the $750 million recommended by the Administration to $850 million, all of it a grant.

The committee also provided that the $1.7 billion in military assistance for Israel be split evenly between loans and grants, at $850 million each. The Administration had recommended that only $550 million of the military assistance be a grant.

The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee voted the same split between grants and loans in the military assistance last week but it approved $910 million in economic assistance to Israel, of which $850 million would be a grant.

As occurred at the Senate hearings, a State Department representative present at the House committee meeting yesterday supported the Administration’s proposals but did not oppose the increase.

However, at the State Department today, deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said “we have continued to support our proposal, pointing out that we believe it is sufficient to meet Israel’s security requirements,” He said that “increases for Israel in the confines of budget ceilings run the risk of crowding out assistance to other countries of strategic importance to the United States.”

Romberg added that the House committee’s action is “only one step” in the Congressional process. “The budget committees, appropriations committees and authorization committees have yet to complete action, ” he noted.

NEXT STORY