Seven U.S. senators from the Democratic Party are among the latest to slam a proposal by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to eliminate all U.S. foreign aid funding, including for Israel.
“Both Republicans and Democrats are committed to reining in the federal deficit, but assistance to Israel is not a matter of ‘pork barrel spending’ - rather U.S. foreign aid to Israel demonstrates America’s rock-solid commitment to ensuring Israel’s right to exist,” the senators wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), heads of the House Appropriations and Budget committees.
The letter was signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
“At a time when U.S. foreign aid is being utilized to strengthen our partnerships around the world, particularly in the Middle East where our relationships are more important than ever, we urge you to commit to maintain full foreign aid funding to Israel,” the letter states.
Rand’s proposal has been rejected by the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group advancing Jewish interest within the Republican party.
Meantime, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), former chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, has urged Rand to explain whether he was speaking on behalf of the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party or himself.