Dems pounce on GOP senator's call to cut aid to Israel

Senate Democrats wrote top House Republicans on Tuesday to warn against cutting aid to Israel, after one GOP senator suggested doing so last week.

Seven Senate Democrats wrote the chairmen of the House appropriations and budget panels to ask them to keep intact funding for Israel and other allies, which Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said should be cut.

"These remarks are alarming and aim to weaken the decades-long bipartisan consensus on U.S. support for Israel," the Democrats wrote in reference to Paul's comments.

"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 Democrats added. "As members of the United States Senate, we will work aggressively to prevent any attempts to abandon one of our most trusted allies."

It's very unlikely that lawmakers would actually vote to cut the $3 billion in military aid the U.S. provides each year to Israel. The Democrats' letter, rather, looks to put Republicans on the spot when it comes to aiding Israel, something most members of the GOP typically support with some vigor.

But the letter does continue to highlight divisions within the party over foreign aid, especially as Israel takes on additional political salience this month. While the Democrats' letter makes no mention of the situation in Egypt, the situation there and how it could affect Israel is impact U.S. decision-making. A series of possible Republican presidential candidates -- former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour -- all have trips planned to Israel, too.