on the hill

To pressure Democrats, Cruz introduces resolution supporting Israel arms sales

Cruz’s resolution would force Senate Democrats on record regarding arms sales to Israel

Michael Brochstein/Sipa via AP

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaking about the For the People Act at a hearing of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on May 11, 2021.

In an apparent effort to push Democratic colleagues to express their views on U.S. arms sales to Israel, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a resolution Wednesday in support of two upcoming sales.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), comes in response to aborted efforts by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Israel critics in the House, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), to force votes on blocking a $735 million arms sale to Israel.

Efforts by both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez fell flat due to timing issues — Ocasio-Cortez was unable to introduce her resolution before the House went into recess at the end of last week, and Sanders abandoned his effort once he found out that the State Department had already finalized the sale.

Cruz’s legislation is unlikely to actually face a floor vote, and the arms sales in question will proceed with or without the Cruz resolution, barring a resolution of disapproval from Congress — which has virtually no chance of passing.

Cruz’s statement announcing the resolution makes clear that his intentions are aimed, at least in part, at pushing Democrats to voice their views on the issue.

“Sadly, Democrats in both the House and the Senate are choosing to pacify their anti-Israel base by opposing this critical support,” Cruz said. “I call on my Democrat colleagues to choose a side and support this commonsense resolution voicing congressional approval for these two sales.”

Cruz and his cosponsors also reiterated their support for Israel’s defensive capabilities and the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Our Israeli allies have just completed another round of fighting against Iran-backed Hamas terrorists who fired over 4,000 rockets into Israel,” Cruz added. “Israel has the solemn obligation to defend its citizens, and the United States has a duty to continue to support and bolster them as they do so.”

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