Date ArticleType
4/20/2016 St. Pete News
Reps. Jolly and Graham send bipartisan letter to POTUS requesting additional funding for Israel

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Preston Rudie, Communications Dir.
(727) 418-7722

U.S. Reps. Jolly and Graham send bipartisan letter to President requesting additional funding for Israeli defense
53 Members of Congress sign bipartisan letter

(Seminole, FL) - U.S. Representatives David Jolly (FL-13) and Gwen Graham (FL-2) authored a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama today calling on him to support a substantial increase in military assistance to Israel during the current bilateral negotiations on a Memorandum of Understanding between the two nations.

Reps. Jolly and Graham were joined by more than 50 colleagues who signed onto the appeal. The representatives call for an increase in current levels of funding for Israeli defense from $3.1 billion to $5 billion annually. According to their letter, the lawmakers contend such an increase is “a matter of direct national security to the United States and to the security of Israel, and is critical to the stability of the Middle East."

“As a result of the recently signed Iranian nuclear agreement, up to $150 billion in economic relief will now be provided to an Iranian regime that continues to fund terror attacks against Israel and a regime that is on the record as wishing to destroy the United States. Surely now is the time to provide additional support to our greatest security partner in the Middle East, Israel," Jolly said. "If Israel were unable to adequately defend itself from these threats, our own security would be endangered. Our two nations share the same national security interests in the Middle East,” continued Jolly, who recently returned from the Middle East where he met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other heads of state to discuss national security and intelligence matters.

“Our security, as well as the region’s stability, is directly linked to Israel’s ability to defend itself. With the Iran agreement and the threat of ISIS, it’s more important than ever to show we support our closest ally in the Middle East,” said Graham, who successfully passed legislation to create a joint US-Israel anti-tunnel defense system.

The current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. and Israel, which expires in 2018, provides $3.1 billion in U.S. foreign military assistance to Israel, providing the ability to procure sophisticated equipment, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, in addition to annual investments in ballistic missile defense capabilities, like the Iron Dome, Arrow, and David's Sling.

The Jolly-Graham letter concludes, “If Israel were ever to fall – a prospect we must never allow to happen – it would mean that the U.S. would likely face a state-backed terror regime in the Middle East strong enough to control an entire global region, with weapons sufficient enough to threaten our homeland, and with leadership maniacal enough to do it.”

In addition to Jolly and Graham, Representatives signing the letter include Rep. Brad Ashford (NE-2), Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1), Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Rep. Joe Heck (NV-3), Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-3), Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10), Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15), Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-9), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), Rep. Peter King (NY-2), Rep. David Rouzer (NC-7), Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8), Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-2), Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-4), Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34), Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-6), Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Dan Benishek (MI-1), Rep. Todd Young (IN-9), Rep. John Katko (NY-24), Rep. David Joyce (OH-14), Rep. Paul Cook (CA-8), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5), Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Rep. Chris Gibson (NY-19), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-6), Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-7), Rep. Daniel Donovan (NY-11), Rep. Rich Nugent (FL-11), Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-4), Rep. Collin C. Peterson (MN-7), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-4), Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Rep. Austin Scott (GA-8), Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8), Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6), Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-8), Rep. Jeff Miller (FL-1) Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), Rep. Earl L. 'Buddy' Carter (GA-1), Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-3), Rep. Luke Messer (IN-6) Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17), Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6).

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