WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation that reaffirms U.S. security commitments to Israel.
More specifically, the measure says that the U.S. will provide Israel with the capabilities to preserve its military’s qualitative edge, expand military and civilian cooperation, and encourage Israel’s neighbors to recognize Israel’s right to exist as the state of the Jewish people.
The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent last Friday. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) authored the legislation, which had 69 co-sponsors.
In a joint news release, the bill’s authors praised the bipartisanship of the Senate to expeditiously pass the legislation. Boxer said in the statement that the bill "reaffirms the important bond between the United States and Israel, and helps ensure that Israel has the necessary tools to defend itself in this time of dynamic change in the Middle East.”
Isakson added that the quick and unanimous passage of the bill demonstrates the "strong, unwavering commitment to Israel and its security and self-defense” by the United States.
In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed companion legislation that was sponsored by Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) by a bipartisan vote of 411-2.
The bill will now be reconciled by both houses of Congress in a conference committee before moving to President Obama for his signature.
“I am hopeful that this bill will pass the House with strong support and will be on the president’s desk for his signature very soon,” Isakson said in the news statement.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbied for both pieces of legislation during its annual policy conference in March and praised the passage of the Senate bill.
“As the United States faces an increasingly dangerous environment in the Middle East — the mounting threat posed by Iran, instability in Syria and the strengthening of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, whose reach stretches into the Western Hemisphere — now is the time to enhance our strategic cooperation with our stable, democratic ally Israel,” AIPAC said in a news statement on Friday.