Boxer, Corker spar in heated exchange on Israel

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) had an “emotional” exchange on the Senate floor Thursday evening, as the Senate tried to finish business before leaving for the August recess.

Boxer tried to get unanimous consent to pass S. 2673, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which would have authorized $200 million for U.S. weapons in Israel. But Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, objected because the bill didn’t go through his committee first.

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“I am shocked and deeply saddened that my friend would come here and object,” Boxer said. “My friend told me he would not object.”

Boxer pointed out that the bill, which also expresses the Senate’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks, is co-sponsored by 80 percent of the Senate, including lead sponsor Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

“If not now, when is the time to pass this legislation?,” Boxer said. “Almost the entire Senate is on it.

“This is an emergency. … I think it is a dark moment when we would walk away from this opportunity to take a stand against terrorism.”

Corker said he was promised a Thursday hearing on the bill but Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) canceled it because senators started offering last-minute amendments that would kill the bill. The original agreement was that no amendments would be offered in committee.

“I’m emotional now. I don’t know what happened, we had a committee hearing scheduled today,” Corker said. “If it came through committee, I was perfectly fine with it being adopted through unanimous consent.”

Senators are scheduled to leave town Thursday night for the five-week August recess. Boxer wanted to pass this bill before leaving because the Pentagon has asked for $215 million in emergency spending to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile supply.

Israel has been fighting off attacks by the terrorist group Hamas for weeks and the conflict continues. 

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