Calvert Remarks During Floor Consideration of H.R. 7217, The Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act

Feb 6, 2024
Statements

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer House Resolution 7217, the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024. This bill provides $17.6 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations, which will provide needed military assistance to America’s great ally Israel and support U.S. military forces operating in the region.

On October 7th 2023, Hamas carried out a brutal, unprovoked terrorist attack on the people of Israel. The horrific acts committed on this day resulted in 1,200 deaths, thousands injured, and 240 hostages – 136 remain in captivity, and over 30 are believed to be dead. The Israeli people are still reeling from the horrors of October 7th, but have bravely pushed their sorrow aside to root out and fight Hamas, and ensure their people are never threatened again.

Last November, the House passed a $14.3 billion supplemental to shore up our ally. That bill included:

  • $5.2 billion in missile defense systems such as Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Iron Beam;
  • $4.4 billion to backfill U.S. stocks;
  • $1 billion for U.S. munitions production such as 155 rounds and small diameter bombs;
  • $3.5 billion for Foreign Military Financing of U.S. systems and munitions; and
  • $200 million for the protection of U.S. personnel and emergency evacuations of American citizens in the region as a result of the conflict.

These requirements remain unchanged, are aligned with the Biden Administration’s supplemental request, and are included again in the bill we are considering today.

Unfortunately, the situation in the Middle East has continued to deteriorate since November. The Houthis have launched dozens of missile, drone, and boat attacks on military and civil ships in the Red Sea.

On January 28th, three U.S. soldiers were killed and 40 injured by a drone attack at a military base in Jordan, caused by an Iranian-backed militia. Just this morning, the Houthis fired missiles at two civilian ships in Yemen – one British, one American. We are putting our military in an untenable situation, and attacks continue to escalate.

Now we must act to shore up our ally Israel and to provide our military with the resources they need to protect our troops in the region.

The new funding in this bill addresses that changing reality by providing $3.3 billion for U.S. military operations in the region funded through December 2024. This includes $1 billion for low-cost defensive capabilities to thwart future attacks on U.S. forces in the region.

In many instances, we have been intercepting low-cost Iranian-backed drones with multi-million dollar missiles. This funding will protect our forces and put us on the right side of the cost curve.

This funding bill resupplies Israel’s defensive capabilities, restores American defense industry to replenish stocks, funds necessary operations for our forces in the region, and sends a strong signal that the United States will not back down.

I am grateful for the support of Chairwoman Granger, Chairman Diaz-Balart, Republican leadership, and the dozens of Members that have cosponsored this bill. I am also grateful for the support expressed by many of my friends across the aisle. We have an opportunity today to come together and send a strong message – the United States stands with Israel.

I want to address the position of Democratic leadership, including President Biden’s veto threat. Assertions that this bill plays politics are patently false. Last November Democrats said they wanted a clean bill. That is exactly what this is. This bill simply provides necessary resources to our closest ally in the region and our own military. I introduced this bill because it’s the right thing to do. The only people making it political are those who oppose it.

Tomorrow is the four-month anniversary of the horrific October 7th terrorist attack – an act of war. Israel knows that we stand with them, and today we can send a clear message that we support their efforts to eradicate Hamas, the only way to truly bring peace to the region.

Likewise, our American military men and women should know their government stands fully behind them as they respond to numerous attacks. Terrorists and those supporting them should have no question of American resolve.

I encourage all Members to support the Israel Security Supplemental, and reserve the balance of my time.