The House of Representatives passed a bill today showing its continued support for Israel. The legislation, which passed by a near-unanimous vote, was a sign of bipartisan politics on the Hill, as members from both the Republican and Democratic sides spoke up ahead of the vote.
"This bill reaffirms Israel's right to defend itself against threats and puts the Congress on record about America's long-standing commitment to the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
"This resolution in part is so that there will be clarity, that there will be no confusion," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said. "There needs to be a clear understanding of all those who would threaten Israel that the United States stands with her."
She added: "We are here today to reaffirm our unequivocal support for Israel's right to defend herself. Beyond affirming Israel's right to defend herself, we aim to expand Israel's ability to protect her citizens against the dangers to which they are subjected to day after day."
The issue of an Iranian nuclear threat was discussed, adding credence to the timing of the bill.
"Only massive pressure from the United States and our allies has any chance of persuading Iran to give up its quest for nuclear arms," said ranking committee member Howard Berman (D-CA). "This bill makes clear that the US Congress will continue to help Israel meet the Iranian threat."
The bill states it is America’s responsibility to ensure Israel’s security, addressing military measures as well as policies in the United Nations with an anti-Israel bias. The legislation includes a call for the US to continue its support of the Iron Dome initiative, to speed up the sale of fighter planes to Israel, and an extension on a $9 billion loan agreement.
Only one Democrat and one Republican voted no on the bill, with nine others voting as “present,” making the final tally 411 to two. The bill is known as the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, H.R. 4133 in the House.