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Lowey blasts Cantor on Israel aid proposal

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The top foreign operations appropriator in the U.S. House of Representatives slammed a GOP proposal to vote separately on aid to Israel and foreign aid.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who chairs the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, termed "outrageous" the proposal by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority whip.

"Manipulating aid to Israel in this way would dangerously threaten continued bipartisan agreement on national security policy and programs other than direct assistance to Israel that aid in its security," Lowey said in response to Cantor’s proposal, which first appeared Sunday in a JTA story. 

“The foreign aid bill funds U.S. diplomatic efforts at the State Department, including diplomacy related to peace in the Middle East," Lowey said in a statement.  "It aids other countries in the region to help defeat al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations and includes non-proliferation initiatives. In addition, the bill addresses moral imperatives that are also destabilizing factors, like hunger, poverty, and disease, which too often create a fertile environment for terror recruitment. Because it is inextricably linked with broader U.S. national security goals, separating assistance for Israel in order to make it easier for Republican members to vote against the foreign aid bill would be counterproductive."

Cantor proposed the alternative as a means of allowing Republicans to vote down funding for nations that they do not perceive as friendly to the United States, or for family planning programs that include abortion.

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