U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s, D-Fla., proposal offering U.S. support for defending Israel from drone attacks continues to gain traction.
Back in February, Crist and U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., teamed up to bring out the “United States-Israel Joint Drone Detection Cooperation Act.” The bill authorizes the White House “to enter into a cooperative project agreement with Israel to counter unmanned aerial vehicles that threaten the United States or Israel.” Crist’s office noted drones launched by the Iranian regime could be a threat to Israel.
Crist announced back in March that his proposal was included as part of the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act” which is being sponsored by the two South Florida representatives in charge of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee—chairwoman U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and ranking Democrat U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. According to Ros-Lehtinen’s office, the bill“affirms the bipartisan support for the unshakeable U.S. - Israel relationship and for Israel’s right to defend herself” by following the funding levels established in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two nations back in 2016. The proposal continues those levels for an additional five years, extending it to FY2019-23. The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee backed the proposal last week. Ros-Lehtinen’s and Deuch’s bill is being sponsored in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who defeated Crist for that seat back in 2010.
In the meantime, Crist and Johnson gathered more support for their proposal when it was also included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will be before the House next week.
"To see our bipartisan proposal continue to receive broad support and swiftly move through Congress speaks to the urgent need to address the growing threat of drone attacks to U.S. and Israeli security," Crist said on Wednesday. "This new partnership will further our vital alliance on defense and foreign policy strategy, greatly benefiting both our countries and keeping our people safe."
"At a time of heightened risk in the Middle East, it is as important as ever for the U.S. to reassert our support for Israel, our strongest ally in the region. Our drone detection legislation will help ensure Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself against evolving and increasingly catastrophic threats," Johnson said . "I am pleased to have this bill included in the upcoming NDAA, and look forward to ushering it through the Congress and into law."
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