This is a new version of an earlier bill (S. 462 of 3/5/13) that would reaffirm and strengthen the economic and security relationship between Israel and the U.S. The principal sponsors, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), left much of the original bill intact, significantly changing only language related to Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, to which a diverse range of individuals and organizations had objected (see the earlier bill for details).
The unchanged provisions include: a requirement for the administration to take steps to place Israel in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain technology products; a $200 m. increase in the value of U.S. weapons stockpiled in Israel (to a total of $1.8 b.) and a one-year extension of Israeli access to the stockpiles; authorization of U.S.-Israeli cooperation on water, energy, homeland security, and alternative fuel technologies; a requirement for the president to pursue expanded cybersecurity cooperation with Israel; a requirement for more frequent and detailed reports to Congress on Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors; an encouragement of cooperation between Israeli and U.S. academic, business, and governmental sectors; and, an authorization for the secretary of state to establish a joint U.S.-Israel Energy Center in the U.S. to facilitate offshore energy development and other forms of mutual cooperation.
The major change to the earlier bill’s language brought it closer in line with the House companion measure on Israel’s admittance into the Visa Waiver Program (H.R. 938 of 3/4/13).
Like the earlier bill, this measure was strongly supported by AIPAC.
Before the Senate adjourned for its 5-week recess starting on 8/2, Boxer attempted to pass this bill by unanimous consent on 7/31. Bob Corker (R-TN) objected to her motion, saying that he would prefer that the Senate Foreign Affairs Comm. deliberate on it first. The next day (8/1), Boxer repeated the attempt, to no avail. In a separate effort on 8/1, Boxer and Blunt proposed the full text of the bill as an amendment to the Senate version of the NDAA (S. 2410 of 6/2/14), but it was not considered.
After the recess, and further deliberations and negotiations, Boxer amended the bill on 9/18, removing the entire Visa Waiver Program section and replacing it with the following short statement: ‘It shall be the policy of the U.S. to include Israel in the Visa Waiver Program [. . .] when Israel satisfies, and as long as it continues to satisfy’ the requirements for participation in the program, which was the exact text from the House’s companion measure. That same day, the bill was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate. The bill later passed in the House.
80 cosponsors (47D, 32R, 1D).
See also: S.A. 3782 on S. 2410 of 6/2/14.
Last major action: 12/19/14 Became public law. (12/3/14 Passed in the House by voice vote. 9/18/14 Passed in the Senate by unanimous consent.)