Last week, US Rep. Grace Meng, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that several provisions she championed, which are critical to Israel and the Jewish community, were included in a key spending package that recently passed the US House of Representatives.
The items Meng obtained include the following:
- $500 million for US-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation. Funding will be used for the US to work with Israel in developing missile defense systems for defending the Jewish state. The funds consist of:
- $95 million for co-production and procurement of Iron Dome;
- $141 million for development of block upgrades for David’s Sling, which includes extending the system’s range, improving its seeker capabilities, and addressing cruise missile threats;
- $50 million for co-production and procurement of David’s Sling system components;
- $55 million for co-production and procurement of Arrow-3 system components; and
- $159 million for the Arrow System Improvement Program to support completion of upgrades and related enhancements to ensure system survivability, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 launcher integration, and interoperability with US systems.
- Directing the Secretary of State to ensure that the Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues is provided with funding that is consistent with prior years so that it can continue to deliver assistance and justice to Holocaust victims and their families, and make certain that the Holocaust is remembered properly and accurately.
- Directing the Secretary of State to ensure that the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism has sufficient resources and staff to combat the increase of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents around the world. The measure urges funding of at least $500,000.
- Directing the State Department to report, within 45 days, on the channels being used to negotiate the release of US citizens and legal permanent residents who are missing and detained in Iran. The measure also urges the Secretary of State to prioritize these cases, to continue to press the Government of Iran for the immediate release of those detained, and to provide any information it possesses regarding any US citizens that have disappeared within its borders.
- Directing the Secretary of State to submit within 90 days a report assessing efforts by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to detect tunnels built by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and the steps the Administration is taking to urge the Security Council to sanction Hezbollah for violations of UNSCR 1701, the resolution that intended to resolve the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Concerned by UNIFIL’s ability to fulfill its mandate in southern Lebanon, the report calls for an assessment of whether UNIFIL is complying with the new requirement to increase its visible presence in southern Lebanon, and oversee the Lebanese Armed Forces’ accelerated deployment in southern Lebanon.
- Calling for at least $5 million to help refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and other regions resettle in Israel.
Meng was also proud, as a member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, to have supported $3.3 billion in foreign military assistance to Israel. The funding, under the Foreign Military Financing Program, would ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over neighboring countries, and can defend itself against any threat. It would also ensure robust support for anti-tunnel cooperation, the US-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies, the Israel-US Binational Research and Development Foundation Energy Program, and migration and refugee assistance.
“I am proud that the House-passed spending package includes critical funding and language that I secured on behalf of the Jewish community and our friend and ally Israel,” said Meng. “These issues remain a top priority of mine and I will continue to advocate for these important initiatives. I thank all who supported my efforts, particularly Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) who serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.”
Meng’s provisions were included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State and Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water spending package.