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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Biden administration circumvents Congress again for urgent arms deal with Israel


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has once again taken ​the unprecedented‌ step of bypassing Congress to approve an emergency weapons sale to Israel.‍ This⁢ decision comes as Israel faces increasing ⁤international criticism for its ⁣ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

The State Department ​announced on Friday that ⁤Secretary​ of State Antony Blinken had made a second emergency determination, approving a $147.5 million sale for ⁣equipment ⁣needed to support ​Israel’s defensive⁤ needs.‍ This includes fuses, ⁢charges, and primers necessary for the 155 mm shells that Israel has already purchased.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure⁣ Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces,” the department stated.

This⁣ emergency​ determination means that the purchase will bypass the ⁣usual​ congressional review requirement for foreign military sales. Such decisions are rare, but not unprecedented, when there is an urgent need for⁤ weapons to⁣ be delivered without waiting‌ for ‌lawmakers’ approval.

Secretary ⁣Blinken previously made a ‍similar decision ⁢on December 9th, approving the sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ‍ammunition worth over​ $106 million to Israel.

These actions have been taken as President Joe Biden’s request for a nearly $106 billion aid package⁢ for Ukraine, Israel,​ and other ‌national security needs remains⁣ stalled in ‍Congress. ‍Some Democratic lawmakers ‍have ⁣expressed the need ⁤to make American assistance‍ to ‍Israel contingent on​ concrete ⁢steps to ‍reduce civilian casualties in Gaza during the conflict with Hamas.

The State Department emphasized ‍that it is in⁤ constant communication‌ with Israel​ to minimize civilian casualties and ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.

Bypassing⁣ Congress with emergency determinations for arms sales is ⁣an unusual step that has met resistance from lawmakers in ‌the past. However, at least four‌ administrations‌ have‍ used this authority since ​1979, including President George H.W. Bush’s⁣ administration during the Gulf War to quickly provide arms to Saudi Arabia.

It⁣ remains⁤ to be‌ seen how this decision ⁤will⁣ be received ‌by Congress ⁣and the international community as the conflict in the region continues.

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  1. Good punctuation and grammar. Disagree. Another example of the Biden administration sidestepping the proper democratic process. The circumvention of Congress undermines transparency and accountability.


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