Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement after the U.S. Senate tonight agreed in a 74-to-19 vote to move forward on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 (S. 1), a bill to bolster the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance by authorizing security assistance to Israel over a 10-year period pursuant to the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, provide new authorities for sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime and its supporters, and empower state and local governments in the United States to counter the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement’s discriminatory economic warfare against the Jewish state.
“I commend my colleagues for putting politics aside and supporting this critical bill of bipartisan measures that will keep America and our allies safer and more secure,” said Rubio. “It is in America’s national security interests to ensure that our allies in the Middle East like Israel and Jordan remain secure amid the region’s growing destabilizing threats posed by Iran and Syria’s Assad regime. Additionally, this bill will hold the Assad regime and its supporters accountable for the continued human rights violations against the Syrian people. I look forward to the U.S. Senate passing this bill in the coming days and urge Speaker Pelosi to quickly take it up in the House.”
Rubio co-authored this legislation with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman James Risch (R-ID), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). Prior to tonight’s successful vote, Senate Democrats blocked the bill from moving forward citing concerns over the government shutdown. Rubio’s remarks can be found here:
- On Senate Floor, Rubio Urges Democratic Colleagues To Support Bill To Strengthen Security In Middle East
S. 1 incorporates four bipartisan bills that Congress nearly enacted into law in 2018:
Rubio-Coons United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2018 (S. 2497EAH). Passed by Senate in voice vote on August 1, 2018. Amended and passed by House of Representatives in voice vote on September 12, 2018. Hotlined by Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 2018.
- Ros-Lehtinen-Deutch United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act (H.R. 2646RS). Passed by House of Representatives in voice vote on February 5, 2018. Reported by Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 29, 2018. Hotlined by Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 2018.
- Engel-Royce Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2018 (H.R. 1677RS). Passed by House of Representatives in voice vote on May 17, 2017. Reported by Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 3, 2018. Hotlined by Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 2018. Passed by the House of Representatives in January 2019.
- Rubio-Manchin Combating BDS Act of 2018 (S. 170). Hotlined by Senate Banking Committee in November 2018.