First introduced as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, the bill was later (May 2008) amended to take into account President Bush’s request for supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of State and Foreign Operations, and various domestic programs for FY2008. The bill also includes the president’s request for bridge funds for FY2009.
Specifically with regard to Israel, the bill appropriates $170 m. in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants, which are allocated by the State Department, to be disbursed prior to 11/1/08 as supplemental funding for FY2009. The amount of the supplement was determined by provisions of the MoU signed by the U.S. and Israeli governments on 16 August 2007, which established U.S. military assistance to Israel from FY2009–FY2018 at $30 b. over 10 years. Anticipating the passage of a continuing resolution that would establish funding for Israel at the FY2008 level of $2.38 b (the anticipated continuing resolution ultimately became part of H.R. 2638 of 6/8/07), the bill appropriated the additional $170 m. so that the total FMF granted to Israel in FY2009 would reach the $2.55 b. set for that year by the MoU.
The bill also includes funding in FY2008 for the Palestinian Authority as follows:
Economic Support Funds (ESF): $171 m. for FY2008 supplemental and $150 m. for a “bridge fund” to be applied at the end of FY2008 as a FY2009 supplemental (10/1/08 through 9/30/09). None of this money can be sent via cash transfer, the customary procedure in transferring ESF funds, which are generally considered as budgetary support for foreign governments. (It should be noted that with regard to Israel, ESF, which Congress since 1998 had decreased by $120 m. per year, was suspended entirely as of FY2008.)
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE): $75 m. for security assistance ($25 m. for FY2008 supplemental and $50 m. for FY2009 supplemental). The bill requires the secy. of state to submit a report within 90 days of the bill’s passage describing the training and related support provided to Palestinian security forces, an assessment of the performance of forces after training, and a description of assistance pledged and provided by other countries to Palestinian security forces. The secy. of state must also provide a report on the PA’s security strategy within 90 days of the bill’s passage.
See also: related measure H.R. 2638 of 6/8/07, and H.R. 1591 of 3/15/07 for FY2007 supplemental appropriations; H.R. 5916 of 4/29/08 and H.R. 7177 of 9/27/08 for further action on the MoU.
Became Public Law 110-252 (6/19/08 passed in House 416-12; 6/26/08 passed in Senate 92-6).