Biden admin again bypasses Congress to sell military equipment to Israel

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks before a participating in a Defense Cooperation Agreement signing ceremony with Danish Foreign Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2023. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington on December 21, 2023.Julia Nikhinson/ReutersCNN — 

The Biden administration for the second time this month has bypassed Congress to approve the transfer of nearly $150 million in military equipment to Israel amid the country’s war against Hamas.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress that he has made an emergency determination to immediately approve the transfer of “155mm ancillary items including fuzes, charges, and primers that make 155mm shells functional,” a State Department spokesperson said Friday.

“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 spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the additional items were added to previous sales, which “increased the total value of the sale to $147.5 million.”

Earlier this month, the administration rushed forward a sale of thousands of munitions to Israel, bypassing the standard 20-day period that congressional committees are typically afforded to review such a sale. The State Department sent an emergency declaration to the oversight committees that more than 13,000 tank shells would be delivered to Israel without any “further information, details or assurances.”

A State Department spokesperson said at the time, “We continue to be clear with the government of Israel that they must comply with [international humanitarian law] and must take every feasible step to avoid harm to civilians.”

The $106 million transaction was part of a larger request to sell a total of 45,000 tank shells to Israel.

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