Senate Foreign Aid Authorization Bill Includes $1.5 Billion in Supplemental Economic Aid to Israel

The Senate last night passed a foreign aid authorization bill for fiscal 1986 which included $1.5 billion in supplemental economic assistance to Israel as well as increases in military aid substantially above the fiscal 1985 level.

Debate on a House version–which authorizes the same level of economic and military aid for Israel as the Senate bill — began today. But it appears likely to become bogged down over differences on military aid levels to other countries.

The foreign aid package for fiscal 1986 will provide a total of $4.5 billion in aid to Israel, including the $1.5 billion supplemental aid and $1.8 billion in military grants — a $400 million increase over the fiscal 1985 level. Israel would receive $3 billion in fiscal 1987. Now that the Administration has concluded that Israel has made sufficient progress in implementing economic reforms to justify meeting its request for emergency supplemental aid, Israel is virtually assured of Congressional approval, if not through a comprehensive aid bill, then through amendments to a “continuing resolution” that carries over foreign aid levels from the preceding fiscal year into the new one. Unable to pass an actual aid bill in recent years, Congress has regularly resorted to the continuing resolution.

Although neither the aid to Israel — nor to Egypt, which would be the only other country to receive supplementary assistance — have met or are expected to meet resistance in Congress, an alternative bill to be introduced by Rep. William Broomfield (R. Mich.) would eliminate a clause that bases military sales to Jordan on “the expectation” that the Jordanians will enter into direct negotiations with Israel on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the Camp David accords.

The Broomfield version would remove the clause on Jordan from the bill but adopt it as a sense of Congress resolution.

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