Democrat lawmakers are frustrated with the Biden administration’s apparent lack of transparency over the types and quantities of weapons the U.S. is sending to Israel, according to The Washington Post.
President Joe Biden’s Democratic allies in Congress have supported the nearly $45 billion in U.S. weapons and equipment sent to Ukraine since February 2022, which are often accompanied with fact sheets breaking down the kinds and amounts of defense articles transferred. So far, Pentagon transfers to Ukraine have been communicated in sweeping terms, generating calls for increased transparency from Democrats who are increasingly disturbed by the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, the Post reported.
The Biden administration is seeking authority to skip past its legal obligation to notify Congress ahead of planned foreign military financing deals with Israel “due to Israel’s urgent need,” according to the Post, citing a copy of the president’s request. The notification requirement applies to every country participating in the State Department’s FMF program.
“I do not support the administration’s request to write into law waivers of congressional notification of foreign military financing, including for Israel,” Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Post. “There is no reason we cannot both ensure needed U.S. assistance is provided to Israel in an expeditious manner and ensure Congress is able to fulfill its constitutional oversight duty.”
Congress is allowed to drag out weapons sales and foreign financing, the Post reported.
The Pentagon announced deliveries of precision munitions, air defense, medical support and other equipment within days of Israel declaring war on Hamas in retaliation for brutal terrorist attacks. Deliveries flowed into Israel on an almost daily basis, the Pentagon said, mostly coming from already-planned transfers put on an accelerated track.
“As you know, we continue to provide assistance to Israel, pretty much on a daily basis,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at an Oct. 31 briefing. He refused to detail the cost, number or contents of those transfers, citing operational security concerns and differing policies and legal requirements governing Israel and Ukraine assistance.
The White House said the waiver would “immediately provide emergency assistance to Israel in lieu of having to wait more than two weeks for congressional approval,” the Post reported.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has pegged the death toll in Gaza at 10,000, although U.S. State Department officials estimate the total is likely even higher, the Post reported.
The terrorist group brutally murdered an estimated 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians, and took about 240 hostages.
“At a time when thousands of civilians are being killed by weapons provided by the U.S. government, the American people deserve to be fully informed about what is being provided to other countries, including Israel, with their tax dollars,” Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri told the Post. “The Biden administration should provide the same transparency around arms transfers to Israel that it has for Ukraine and other countries.”
NEWS: Ukraine Defense Package Includes Missiles, Air Defense https://t.co/b8VQYnSYmU
— Department of Defense (@DeptofDefense) November 4, 2023
Biden asked Congress for an additional $14 billion in security assistance for Israel as part of a $100 billion foreign aid supplemental request, the Post reported.
Micaela Burrow on November 10, 2023