Posted on February 5, 2019
WASHINGTON, February 5, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019:
“The U.S. has no greater friend in the Middle East than Israel, and it is in our national security interest to ensure the country has adequate protections amid growing tensions in the region, posed by Iran and the ongoing conflict in Syria. I was glad to vote for the legislation passed by the Senate today that will support Israel, strengthen our relationship with Jordan, and increase sanctions against the Syrian regime, which continues to commit human rights violations against its own citizens.”
The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act will:
- Authorize $3.3 billion a year for 10 years in U.S. security assistance to Israel.
- Extend important loan guarantee programs for Israel and authorizes the President to transfer precision guided munitions to Israel to serve as reserve stocks in case of war. This will help ensure Israel maintains its military advantage over its enemies in the Middle East.
- Extend Jordan’s participation in certain defense sales programs until 2022.
- Impose new sanctions on individuals or businesses involved with the Government of Syria and clarifies that sanctions will not inadvertently affect humanitarian groups and non-governmental organizations helping civilians.
- Give state and local governments the authority to restrict contracting, divest or prohibit investment with companies or individuals who are engaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which is designed to impose a de-facto economic blockade of Israel. The legislation contains language that explicitly protects the First Amendment rights of American citizens.