President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has once again taken the step of bypassing Congress by authorizing an emergency weapons sale to Israel. The U.S. State Department discreetly announced this sale on Friday, December 29, 2023, as reported by the Associated Press.
This recent action follows a previous sale that occurred on December 9, 2023. The value of the previous sale amounted to over $106 million and included approximately 14,000 rounds of ammunition for tanks. These weapons sales are taking place amidst Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas. The conflict arose in response to a deadly attack launched by the terrorist group on the Israeli people on October 7, 2023. According to ABC News, the latest weapons sale made by the Biden administration to Israel is estimated to be valued at $147.5 million.
The outlet reports:
The State Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had told Congress that he had made a second emergency determination covering a $147.5 million sale for equipment, including fuses, charges, and primers, that is needed to make the 155 mm shells that Israel has already purchased function.
ABC News cites the State Department, as reported by the news outlet.
“Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer,” the department said.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to ensure Israel is able to defend itself against the threats it faces.”
Typically, as per the delegation of powers outlined in the U.S. Constitution, Congress would be required to assess and authorize the sale of military weapons to a foreign entity. However, in this case, President Biden has circumvented this review process. He has accomplished this by invoking the emergency powers vested in the executive branch. President Biden argues that the ongoing situation between Israel and Hamas is an urgent crisis that necessitates bypassing the customary congressional review process due to time constraints.
Nevertheless, the legitimacy of President Biden’s decision to bypass Congress remains a subject of debate. Prior to these emergency weapons sales to Israel, President Biden did seek Congress’s assistance for Israel. He made this request simultaneously with his appeal for aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. Consequently, lawmakers, particularly those on the Republican side of the political spectrum, declined to fulfill President Biden’s request.
The AP reports:
Both moves have come as President Joe Biden’s request for a nearly $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs remains stalled in Congress, caught up in a debate over U.S. immigration policy and border security.