Despite severe financial crisis, US officials say foreign aid to Israel to remain unaffected in 2012; budget funds 'commitment to ensure our ally Israel maintains its qualitative military edge,' Rep. Nita Lowey says
WASHINGTON – Our American friend: American aid to Israel will not be reduced in 2012 despite budgetary cutbacks, senior US officials said Wednesday.
The $3.075 billion in aid granted to Israel would remain intact under the 2012 State and Foreign Operations Act, Chairman of the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee, Rep. Hal Rogers said in a joint statement with Rep. Kay Granger, chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of Appropriations.
The allotted budget "fully funds our commitment to ensure our ally Israel maintains its qualitative military edge," said Rep. Nita Lowey, adding that she was satisfied with the decision but criticizing other cuts in the foreign aid package.
Obama honors Bush pledge
The overall budget allotted for American foreign aid for 2012, as presented by the Republicans Wednesday, will stand at $39.6 billion, marking an $8.6 billion cut compared to the 2011 budget.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reportedly pleased by the expected budget cut, which Rep. Lowey said would "downsize" the State Department.
Previous US President George W. Bush agreed with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on a $30 billion aid package to spread over 10 years, starting in 2007. President Barack Obama has been adhering to the agreement despite the severe financial crisis in the US.
The current US Administrations has maintained defense aid to Israel and additions of hundreds of millions of dollars per year for Israeli military projects, mostly in the field of anti-missile defense.