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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentlelady from Florida for her leadership on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. As the gentlelady just said, Mr. Speaker, I, together with my counterpart, Steny Hoyer, Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and the gentleman from California, Ranking Member Howard Berman, in May introduced this bill, and the House passed it with nearly unanimous support.
At a time when we are facing huge fiscal challenges, this bill makes it clear that no matter what, the United States always stands strong in our support for Israel, with whom we share a commitment to freedom, a respect for human life, and a commitment to security.
Among other things, this bill allows for the continuation of longstanding loan guarantees to Israel, we restate the importance of maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, and we improve military and intelligence cooperation, particularly with respect to joint missile defense.
We also reiterate our commitment to stand with Israel in international forums like the United Nations, where Israel often finds itself in an unfriendly environment. And, Mr. Speaker, we encourage NATO to welcome an expanded role for Israel. Our investment in Israel's security is an investment in American security.
Beyond this bipartisan expression of America's support for Israel, there is much the United States can do to protect our interests and the interests of our closest allies in the Middle East. But we cannot do so as a spectator.
The U.S. must lead. We cannot rely on Vladimir Putin and Kofi Annan to broker the peace in Syria, or stand idly by as Iran and Russia protect Bashar Assad, one of the world's most active state sponsors of terrorism. And we cannot and must not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability.
Mr. Speaker, we must meet the existential threat Iran poses to Israel, its neighbors, and the world with strength and engagement. We cannot allow situations in the region to unfold without our leadership. In fact, during my recent trips to the region, I have found there is more agreement on the need for U.S. leadership than anything else.
Today, Mr. Speaker, the House will send this bipartisan bill to the President and deliver the message that, during this pivotal and dangerous period in the Middle East, the United States stands tall for our ally, Israel.
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