Tenney, Schneider introduce bipartisan bill to defend Israel’s military edge

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Bill requires consultation with Israel on qualitative military edge before authorizing regional arms sales

Today, U.S. Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) announced the introduction of new bipartisan legislation to strengthen the processes that ensures Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) over regional adversaries.

The Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017, or H.R. 2833, expands the United States’ coordination with our strongest regional ally by requiring the President to consult with appropriate officials in the government of Israel on Israel’s QME before authorizing arms sales to countries in the Middle East.

The bill also enhances previous QME requirements with new assessments, including ensuring Israel may effectively defend itself against non-state actors and considering the risk posed if the weapons fell into unauthorized hands.

“With the conflict in Syria, uncertainty regarding Iran, and the growth of ISIS, Israel faces more threats than ever and from all sides. At the same time, the country remains the region’s great democracy and our longstanding ally,” said Tenney. “This bill reaffirms our commitment to Israel’s security by raising the bar for future military sales to other actors in the region. This will ensure that our strategic support of other countries does not have the inadvertent effect of degrading Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, which both Democrats and Republicans agree must be preserved.”

“The United States must continue to ensure that Israel our closest, most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world, has the tools to maintain its qualitative military edge over those who seek to do it harm,” said Schneider. “This bill greatly improves our coordination by requiring consultation with the Israeli government and ensuring closer scrutiny of future regional arms sales. The qualitative military edge (QME) policy has long received robust bipartisan support, and I look forward to continuing to work together to promote a strong relationship between the United States and Israel.”

This bill comes as Congress considers approval of a possible $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia proposed by the Administration. Leaders in the United States and Israel have expressed concern that the deal may lead to the diminishment of Israel’s QME.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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