Berman, Ros-Lehtinen seek loan guarantees extension for Israel


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee introduced legislation that would extend a program providing loan guarantees to the State of Israel. 

Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and ranking member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation last Friday that would allow loan guarantees to help Israel raise private funds at lower interest rates. 

The program was initiated in 2003 and extended in 2006 for five years. The new bill calls for an extension to run through the end of the fiscal year in 2015. 

Berman in a statement said that members of Congress “continue to stand with Israel to help safeguard its financial security.”

“Just as we are committed to ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge, we must do what we can to protect Israel’s economic strength so it is able to address the many security threats it currently faces,” Berman said.  

Ros-Lehtinen in a separate statement echoed Berman’s sentiments about the introduction of the legislation. 

“As the threats to Israel continue to increase, the U.S. must continue to stand by our indispensable ally and ensure that it has the resources it needs to protect its security and prosperity," she said.  "Congress will continue to stand foursquare with Israel and provide it, upon request, with loan guarantees that provide a key cushion of support in times of need, at no cost to the American taxpayer." 

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