Biden Bypasses Congress to Send Thousands of Munitions to Israel

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In a recent development sparking outrage among Americans, the U.S. State Department has bypassed Congress to approve the sale of 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition to Israel, valued at more than $500 million. This move comes as the Biden administration faces growing domestic and international pressure to support a ceasefire in Gaza and place conditions on weapons provided to Israel.

The State Department invoked an emergency provision to approve the sale, bypassing the standard 20-day period that congressional committees are typically afforded to review such a sale. This emergency declaration has been met with criticism from some members of Congress, who argue that the administration should not short-circuit the already short time frame for congressional review of large weapons sales.

In response to the State Department’s decision, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN that the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which have oversight over military sales, had been under “pressure” from the State Department to approve the request quickly amid Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

The administration’s move to transfer some of the munitions comes as the US is under growing domestic and international pressure to support a ceasefire in Gaza and place conditions on some of the weapons it is providing to Israel. Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on Friday “that he had exercised his delegated authority to approve the immediate transfer of the munitions, which are valued at $106 million.”

This decision to bypass Congress follows a request by the State Department earlier in the week for Congress to approve the sale of 45,000 shells to Israel for its Merkava tanks. Going around Congress, the Biden administration said Saturday it has approved the emergency sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than $106 million as Israel intensifies its military operations in southern Gaza.

The administration’s decision to transfer the munitions to Israel comes as the US faces growing pressure to support a ceasefire in Gaza and place conditions on the weapons provided to Israel. Some Democratic lawmakers have spoken of making the proposed $14.3 billion in American assistance to its Mideast ally contingent on concrete steps by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza during the war with Hamas.

The decision to fund the war in Israel by bypassing Congress has sparked outrage and concern among many Americans. It remains to be seen how this development will impact the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the broader U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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