Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

May 14, 2009
June 22, 2009
Referred to Senate (sub)committee

No cosponsors.

This bill would provide the legal authority for the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other federal agencies involved with U.S. foreign relations to carry out their activities and obligate funding for them. This version of the bill was introduced by Howard Berman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and is reflective of Democratic foreign policy priorities.

Would authorize the use of $25 m. from funds provided under the Migration and Refugee Assistance account for fiscal year 2010 and ‘such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2011’ to be used to resettle refugees in Israel.

Seeks to authorize ‘such sums as may be necessary’ from the Dept. of State and Foreign Operations budget for the U.S. to co-develop joint ballistic missile, medium and short-range missile defense systems with Israel. Funds for this program are normally drawn from the Dept. of Defense budget since it is the agency with sole responsibility for the program. This includes co-production of Arrow missiles, system development of the short-range ballistic missile defense system ‘David’s Sling’, and its integration into U.S. missile defense system. Both of these projects have been funded by the U.S. in the past, but this section would also authorize funds to conduct research, development, test, and evaluation of the Iron Dome short-range projectile defense system, which had previously been funded solely by Israel. It would also require the secy. of state, in consultation with the secy. of defense, to report to Congress within 180 days and yearly thereafter on these activities.

Would amend the Arms Export Control Act to require that any certification relating to the proposed sale of defense articles or services to any country in the Middle East be accompanied by an unclassified determination that it will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over any military threat in the region.

Additionally the bill would make numerous amendments to laws governing U.S. arms exports which grant Israel the same expedited executive and Congressional review procedures as granted to NATO members. The bill also seeks to grant the president the authority to issue special export licenses for the export of defense related spare parts to Israel and to transfer to Israel ‘obsolete or surplus’ weapons and munitions contained in U.S. weapons stockpiles located in Israel.

The bill would require these additional reports be submitted to Congress:

A report from the president containing a ‘complete, unedited, and unredacted copy’ of every U.S. assurance to Israel regarding its security and maintenance of its ‘qualitative military edge’ over all other nations in the region from 1 January 1975 until enactment of this bill. Additionally, the president must provide an analysis of whether or not each assurance has been fulfilled and how ‘it has been and is continuing to be fulfilled.’ Any revision to these agreements or new assurance made to Israel must be reported to Congress within 15 days, and a comprehensive report regarding all assurances and revisions must be given to Congress every five years. According to its report accompanying the bill (111-136) the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stated that the president’s reports on agreements with Israel will ‘enable Congressional oversight of the U.S.-Israel security relationship.’

Within 180 days of enactment of the bill and every year thereafter, a report from the secy. of state detailing the humanitarian conditions in Gaza; the level of access to basic necessities in Gaza, including food, fuel, water, sanitation, education, and healthcare; the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, as well as the efficacy of these efforts and the obstacles impeding them. The report is to include recommendations for improving access to basic necessities and overcoming the obstacles to providing h

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