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How Congress can help Israel in its war against Hamas

While an aid package is at the top of the list, there are other steps Congress can take to show support for its strongest ally in the Middle East.
How Congress can help Israel in its war against Hamas
Posted at 10:08 AM, Oct 16, 2023

There remains an ongoing debate about what Congress should do next to help Israel, the country's strongest ally in the Middle East. But while an aid package is at the top of the list, that's not the only step Congress can take.

President Joe Biden acted quickly after Hamas attacked Israel, using preexisting authority to send military supplies. But the White House knows more help will be needed.

"When Congress returns, we're going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners," President Biden said. "This is not about party or politics, it's about the security of our world."

It's unclear what an aid package might look like, but the Biden administration has said it will rely on the Israelis to specify what they need, and then it's up to Congress to approve it.

SEE MORE: Rep. Adam Smith on the US response to Israel's war with Hamas

But the Senate also needs to confirm the new U.S. ambassador to Israel. President Biden nominated Jack Lew to fill that role last month. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and some say confirming Lew is one way to give Israel immediate support.

"A Senate-confirmed diplomat has greater sway with a local government than even some of the best of our State Department personnel who serve as charges de affaires," said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.

The House and Senate are also expected to pass bipartisan resolutions reiterating the country's support for Israel and condemning the Hamas attack — a symbolic gesture demonstrating the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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