An Update from CUFI Action Fund

Things are beginning to slowly return to normal in Washington, and as a result, elected officials and their staffs have had the breathing room to focus on items other than the novel coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s Action Update, we take a brief look at the status of three policy items the Action Fund is supporting.

US-Israel Efforts to Combat COVID-19

Even casual observers of Israel know that the “start-up nation” is a hub of innovation, in particular in the medical field. From coming up with a method for developing ventilators that does not require factory production to developing a COVID-19 test that delivers results in a minute and is 90 percent accurate, the Israelis have come a long way in a short time in their efforts to help the world fight the pandemic.

That is why we are supporting the common sense, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Coons and Cruz that would authorize $12 million to fund joint US-Israel efforts to combat the pandemic. We agree wholeheartedly with Sen. Cruz’s statement that, “Israel is not only our friend and ally, but also a global leader in medicine with which we already cooperate on exactly those issues.”

US-Israel Security Assistance Act

In last week’s update, we discussed the importance of the US security support for Israel, and noted that the US-Israel Security Assistance Act enjoys widespread bipartisan support. This week we are pleased to note that the legislation has been marked up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and that in its current form, the legislation now includes the aforementioned authorization for joint US-Israel efforts to combat COVID-19.

We look forward to the Senate’s swift passage of this bill and are confident that upon it being returned to the House (the bill passed the House previously but will require final passage with the updated language), this legislation will move forward.

US-Israel Military Capability Act

Last week, Senators Cotton and Peters introduced legislation that will “require the Department of Defense to establish a working group with their counterparts in the Israeli government to collaborate on the research and development of technology used for national defense.”

The CUFI Action Fund supports this legislation and concurs with Sen. Peters’ assessment that, “As an ally, Israel has both a thriving defense innovation base and extensive real-world experience against modern security threats.”

As the threats in the region continue to rise, this type of cooperation is vital to US and Israeli national security. And one of the key threats upon which we need to remain focused is Iran. We are ever mindful that the international arms embargo against the Islamic Republic expires in October. As Action Fund Director of Public Policy and Strategy Boris Zilberman noted in a recent op-ed, “Mitigating the risk of arms moving to and from Iran freely and regularly requires US policymakers to mobilize now with greater urgency and action.”

The CUFI Virtual Summit is just one month away. We’re monitoring these three pieces of legislation, as well as other policy items and developments, as we hone in on exactly what we’ll be lobbying on during the Summit. On June 30th, CUFI members will receive an Action Alert enabling them to lobby their elected officials via email and social media. Please keep an eye out for this alert, and if you haven’t already, please sign up to participate in the 2020 CUFI Washington Virtual Summit. We may not all be together in person, but our united voice will be heard.

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