Senate Dems press GOP on Paul’s call to cut aid


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Senate Democrats urged Republicans to reject a colleague’s call for an end to foreign aid, including aid to Israel.

"Both Republicans and Democrats are committed to reining in the federal deficit, but assistance to Israel is not a matter of ‘pork barrel spending,’ " said the letter sent Tuesday to the GOP chairmen of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget committees, respectively Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. "Rather U.S. foreign aid to Israel demonstrates America’s rock-solid commitment to ensuring Israel’s right to exist."

The letter, signed by seven Senate Democrats, comes in the wake of a call last week by newly elected Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to slash foreign spending, including all assistance to Israel.

"At a time when U.S. foreign aid is being utilized to strengthen our partnerships around the world, particularly in the Middle East where our relationships are more important than ever, we urge you to commit to maintain full foreign aid funding to Israel," the letter said.

In the wake of Paul’s remarks, the Republican Jewish Coalition said Paul was "misguided" for saying Israel funding should be cut, adding that he was likely alone among his colleagues in his proposal.

Signatories to Tuesday’s letter include Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)., Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

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