A U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee authorized $680 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The approval came during the Strategic Forces subcommittee’s markup on Thursday of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. A markup is when a subcommittee votes to refer a bill to the full committee; the act in question authorizes defense spending.
Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee introduced legislation that would extend a program providing loan guarantees to the State of Israel.
Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Friday that would allow loan guarantees to help Israel raise private funds at lower interest rates.
The program was initiated in 2003 and was extended in 2006 for an additional five years. The new bill calls for an extension that will run through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) has called on the Egyptian government to lift its ban on the export of lulavs in time for Sukkot.
Egypt is one of the largest suppliers of the palm fronds that form the spine of the ritual lulav, and the ban threatens to cause "financial hardship for families and communities simply wishing to fulfill their religious obligations," Berman wrote Wednesday to Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. (See Helen Chernikoff's report on the ban here.)
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A bipartisan bill introduced by top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives would considerably tighten sanctions on Iran.
The bill, introduced May 13 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), its ranking Democrat, would ban business with any entity that does $1 million in a single trade with Iran's energy sector, or $5 million over one year.
It also would expand sanctions against alleged human rights violators and financial institutions that deal with Iran.
(JTA) -- Jewish groups and a key Jewish lawmaker condemned the U.S. House of Representative's budget proposal for 2012, saying it will hurt the Americans most in need.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs said in a statement released Wednesday that the Republican-backed budget proposal unveiled the previous day, which slashes nearly $6 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years, "relies on cuts which will be harmful to many of those in America who are most in need."
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- U.S. House of Representatives leaders urged President Obama to veto a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that slams Israel on settlements and urges a return to direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.
"We are deeply concerned about the Palestinian leadership’s decision to reject the difficult but vital responsibility of making peace with Israel through direct negotiations, and instead to advocate for anti-Israel measures by the United Nations Security Council and other international forums," says the letter sent Thursday.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- In the wake of revelations that a computer virus may have set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Western groups and analysts that track the Islamic Republic are saying “More of the same, please.”
The benefits of a nonviolent program that inhibits Iranian hegemony by keeping the country's nuclear weapons program at bay are obvious: Better to stop Iran with cyber warfare -- in this case, the Stuxnet computer virus, which reportedly caused Iran’s nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control -- than actual warfare.