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Edward R.
Republican CA 39

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  • Israel Qme Enhancement Act

    by Representative Edward R. Royce

    Posted on 2013-12-11

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    ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1992) to amend the requirements relating to assessment of Israel's qualitative military edge over military threats, and for other purposes, as amended.

    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 1992 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Israel QME Enhancement Act''.


    (a) Assessment Required; Reports.--Section 201 of Public Law 110-429 (122 Stat. 4843; 22 U.S.C. 2776 note) is amended-- (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``an ongoing basis'' and inserting ``a biennial basis''; and (2) in subsection (c)(2)-- (A) in the heading, by striking ``Quadrennial'' and inserting ``Biennial''; and (B) in the text, by striking ``Not later than four years after the date on which the President transmits the initial report under paragraph (1), and every four years thereafter,'' and inserting ``Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Israel QME Enhancement Act, and biennially thereafter,''.

    (b) Report.-- (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on-- (A) the range of cyber and asymmetric threats posed to Israel by state and non-state actors; and (B) the joint efforts of the United States and Israel to address the threats identified in subparagraph (A).

    (2) Form.--The report required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.

    (3) Appropriate congressional committees defined.--In this subsection, the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Schneider) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

    General Leave Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to add any extraneous material to the Record.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California? There was no objection.

    Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Let me begin by thanking both the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Collins) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Schneider) for their leadership and for their foresight in authoring this very important measure.

    In shepherding this legislation through the committee, I was again reminded of the shared commitment of Members of both parties to come together to promote Israel's security. It is an example of bipartisanship at its best.

    The United States' commitment to Israel rests on the assurance that the U.S., through a combination of Foreign Military Financing, the joint cooperative development of weapons systems and other measures, will ensure that Israel upholds its qualitative military edge. The standard definition of that is ensuring Israel's ability to counter and defeat credible military threats from any individual state or coalition of states or nonstate actors, and with the growing threat to Israel throughout the region--from the prospect of a nuclear Iran to an ascendant Hezbollah and widespread regional instability--Israel's retention of its QME is critical to its existence.

    I had a chance to see this firsthand in 2006 during the second Lebanon war, which I, frankly, think should be called the ``Hezbollah war.'' Hezbollah was raining down rockets manufactured originally in Iran and Syria on a daily basis on Haifa. When I was in Haifa, I watched those rockets come in, and [[Page H7651]] they were being aimed at civilian neighborhoods. They were also being aimed at the hospital there. On one trip, I went down to the hospital to see the results.

    Haifa is a very cosmopolitan city as one-third of Haifa is Israeli Jews, another third is Arab Israelis, another third is Druze and other minorities. The people in that city faced a constant bombardment for 30 days. While we were there, we had an opportunity to talk to some of the families, to some of the survivors--600 civilian victims from that attack in that trauma hospital. They told us how those missiles manufactured in Iran--this was before the invention of the Iron Dome, so there was no defense to this--would come into the civilian neighborhoods--90,000 ball bearings--and they would just go through the walls, through cars, through a shop. This is what led, basically, to a siege-like setting in which families were underground; but as they would try to come up at some point, they would be spotted from the other side, from the border, and once again, Hezbollah would try to hit that family, to hit that township.

    This is what Haifa was going through. It is a reminder of the threat that Israel needs the best technology to combat these and other terrorist attacks. It is a relief that now Israel does have the Iron Dome, that there is warning, that there is the ability of some type of response other than the type of counterbattery work that we saw as they were trying to silence those rockets, which were never silenced, which came in for 30 days.

    In 2008, Congress required the President to assess on an ongoing basis the extent to which Israel possesses a qualitative military edge over the threats that are arrayed against it. Those threats are all too real. Currently, the assessment is done every 4 years. Currently, it focuses only on the conventional military threats to Israel. This bill would require that Congress receive that assessment on a timely basis, at least every 2 years. It would also require the administration to specify a separate onetime report integrating cyber and asymmetric threats to Israel into this overall security assistance framework. This is very important given the new types of terror--suicide bombings and the rest of it and cyber warfare--that are being developed on either side of the border from Hamas to Hezbollah.

    These provisions will provide Congress critical information that it requires in a timely manner to assess Israel's security requirements as Israel tries to deal with everything from the threat in Iran to all of the other terrorist organizations that are proxies for Iran. It also sends the right message at the right time to our mutual friends and foes alike that the United States and Israel stand together.

    So I strongly support the immediate passage. I thank, again, Mr. Schneider and Mr. Collins for their good work.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise in strong support of H.R. 1992, the Israel Qualitative Military Edge Enhancement Act.

    I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for working so diligently with my office, and I want to thank Congressman Doug Collins for bringing this important legislation before the House floor. I want to personally thank my friend and colleague Mr. Collins for all of the work he has done and that we have done together to make sure this bill becomes a reality.

    Israel stands at an historic juncture. In a very dangerous neighborhood, Israel must have the capabilities to deal with a broad spectrum of potential conventional and asymmetric threats. With the United States negotiating with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, it is vitally important that we continue to give Israel all of the tools necessary to address a growing list of threats. That is why Representative Collins and I have introduced this important and timely bill--to help further safeguard the technological edge Israel has in defending herself and in safeguarding human life for all of her citizens.

    This bill expands upon existing requirements that the United States aid Israel in developing defense-capable systems for safeguarding the Israeli homeland against conventional and asymmetrical threats. Previously, this cooperation has resulted in the highly successful Iron Dome system along with the continued development of the Arrow and the David's Sling series of military hardware.

    Despite this capability, Israel now faces the threat of regional insecurity with a virtual failed state on its border with Syria, hundreds of thousands of rockets and mortars being stockpiled by Hezbollah in Lebanon, ongoing rocket fire from Hamas on the Gaza Strip, increasing terrorist activity in the Sinai, and, most importantly, the continued existential threat of Iran and its accelerating nuclear program. The U.S. can and must do more to aid Israel in addressing all of these threats in a comprehensive way.

    The bill before us would specifically encourage greater cooperation between Israel and the United States in developing new weapons, tactics and procedures that will safeguard them from the growing threats Of cyber warfare and asymmetrical military threats such as terrorist activity. Increased reporting and coordination will allow the United States and Israel to continue their mutually beneficial research and intelligence programs to create a more secure and prosperous region-- one that can safeguard human life to the maximum extent possible. By increasing the frequency of assessment from 4 years to 2, the Israel Qualitative Military Edge Enhancement Act will help ensure Israel is always prepared to confront constantly evolving conventional and asymmetrical threats.

    I again want to thank the chairman and ranking member for their support of this legislation. I also want to thank the other cosponsors of this bill, including Representative Collins, for their hard work to hone this bill over the last few months. I would especially like to thank Vernon Robinson, Jr., who worked so diligently with my staff to shepherd this bill to the House floor today.

    I strongly ask my colleagues to join me in support of this important bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

    {time} 1330 Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Collins), a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the author of this bill, and we want to thank him for being such an active member of our committee.

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