Senate

Graham to introduce $1.5 billion bill for Israel

Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that he’s planning to introduce legislation next week to provide additional financial support to Israel, arguing a new agreement with the United States doesn’t go far enough.

“I’m probably going to do this next week. See if we can just get it out there, see what kind of support I have, and then begin to just challenge the system to vote,”  he said when asked if he would wait until the lame-duck session after the election to push the bill.

{mosads}The U.S. and Israel this week formally finalized a security agreement that includes $38 billion for the Middle Eastern ally over the next decade. As part of the deal, the Israeli government signed a letter agreeing to give back any additional money Congress appropriates. 
 
Graham, however, stressed lawmakers would be able to pass an emergency supplemental funding bill, arguing that Congress isn’t a party of the memorandum of understanding (MOU). 
 
“A lot of members of Congress are going to see the benefit of a supplemental for Israel given what Iran’s done … and I think there’s a lot of votes in this body for a $1.5 billion appropriation,” the South Carolina Republican said. 
 
It’s unclear how much support Graham has for his proposal, or how much time he’ll have to gather support under a tight election-year timeframe. Lawmakers might recess next week until after the election, meaning his proposal could get tied up by talks of either an omnibus or end-of-the-year continuing resolution (CR). 
 
But Graham added that Israeli officials told him they wanted more money but ” just felt like they couldn’t go beyond what the MOU said.” 
 
Graham, one of the Senate’s most vocal defense hawks, tied the push for more money for the Middle Eastern ally to a resurgent Iran. He noted that he also wants to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which is currently set to expire at the end of the year. 
 
“I think it’s in our interest to send a signal to the ayatollah — the more provocative you are … the more helpful we’re going to be,” he said. “I want to send a signal to Iran that as you develop your missiles and as you do this and as you do that we’re going to have more assistance to Israel.” 
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