U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) today introduced the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, legislation that seeks to strengthen security and other important areas of cooperation between the United States and Israel.
"America's long-standing relationship and strong cooperation with Israel dates back to the presidency of a fellow Missourian, Harry S. Truman," said Blunt. "I'm proud to help lead this bipartisan bill, which once again demonstrates Congress' commitment to Israel's security and deepens our country's defense relationship with our ally Israel during this extremely critical moment in the Middle East region."
"This bipartisan legislation reaffirms the strong, historic relationship between the United States and Israel," Boxer said. "The bill will enhance cooperation on a range of issues -- from defense to energy to cyber security -- so we can work together to address the many foreign policy challenges facing both countries."
The bipartisan legislation includes important measures to expand the already robust security relationship between the United States and Israel. Specifically, it would authorize an increase to $1.8 billion of the value of the U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel and require that the Administration take steps to include Israel in the top-tier category of the Strategic Trade Authorization program for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products. It also would require the President to study and submit to Congress a feasibility study on the establishment of a joint United States-Israel Cyber Security Center, and expresses the Sense of the Congress that Israel is a Major Strategic Partner.
In addition, the bill would allow Israel to participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, making it easier for Israeli citizens to travel to the United States without first having to obtain a visa. The measure also would authorize the President to provide assistance to Israel that is consistent with U.S. national security interests in such fields as energy, homeland security and water.
The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 builds upon the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which was signed into law by President Obama in July and reaffirms the United States' "unwavering commitment" to Israel's security and U.S. support for Israel's right to self-defense.