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6 Democratic US senators reject call to cut Israel aid

February 1, 2011 17:36

In letter to Appropriations and Budget c'tee, lawmakers respond to Sen. Rand Paul, saying aid to ME's only democratic nation is imperative.

US Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul 311. (photo credit:Associated Press)

Six Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected a deficit-driven proposal by a new Republican senator to cut US aid to Israel.

In a letter to the top House Republicans on the Appropriations and Budget committees, the Democrats said aid to Israel, the only democratic nation in the Middle East, is imperative. They backed the $3 billion in foreign military assistance that the US provides annually to Israel.

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Pro-Israel activists decry GOP senator's call to cut aid

Republican Sen. Rand Paul said last week that the nation faces a fiscal crisis and argued that the US cannot give money away, even to allies, as the debt grows.

According to the Washington Post, Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island signed the letter.

Senator Paul, a Tea Party favorite, called to cut all foreign assistance, including aid to Israel in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week.

When Blitzer asked about continuing aid to Israel, Paul replied, “When you send foreign aid, you actually [send] quite a bit to Israel’s enemies, Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.”

He was apparently referring to aid to countries such as Egypt, which receives money as part of the peace treaty it signed with Israel in 1979.

“I don't think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else, we just can’t do it anymore,” he said.

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