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Kaine Statement on National Security Supplemental & Congressional Oversight Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, released the following statement regarding a proposed supplemental funding package to support key national security priorities, including resources to strengthen border security and support our alliances. Kaine also announced that he will file his amendment—which has now received support from more than half of the Democratic Caucus—to maintain the congressional notification requirement for all U.S. assistance to foreign militaries, including Israel.

“The crisis at the border necessitates solutions, not political grandstanding. I’m glad this bipartisan legislation provides significant resources to secure the border and address the fentanyl crisis. It also includes robust resources I’ve fought for to implement the Australia-U.K.-U.S. security agreement, in which Australia will purchase Virginia-built submarines. This will create jobs and economic growth in Virginia, and strengthen our partnerships in the Pacific—which is especially important in light of China’s aggression in the South China Sea.

“Like any compromise, this legislation isn’t perfect. While I support aid to help Ukraine and Israel defend themselves and to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, I’m disappointed this legislation waives long-standing requirements to notify Congress about U.S. military assistance to Israel, while leaving congressional notice mandates in place for arms transfers to other nations. Congress and the American people deserve full transparency about military assistance to all nations. No president of any party should bypass Congress on issues of war, peace, and diplomacy. That’s why I’m introducing a commonsense amendment, backed by dozens of my Senate colleagues, to ensure that we maintain full congressional oversight for U.S. aid to Israel, just as we do for every other nation we support. The same standard should apply to every country receiving U.S. military assistance.”

Kaine has advocated for many provisions that are included in the supplemental package.

Helping Ukraine Defend Itself: Provides funding for the transfer of weapons and equipment to Ukraine, replenishment of Department of Defense (DOD) stockpiles, military and intelligence support, and economic and civilian security assistance.

Australia-U.S.-U.K. (AUKUS) Partnership: Provides support, which Kaine has called for, to strengthen implementation of the AUKUS agreement, in which Australia will purchase Virginia-class submarines and invest in the U.S. submarine industrial base. Maintains the readiness of the Navy’s fleet by providing funding to improve the Navy’s four public shipyards, including Norfolk Naval Shipyard; supports the Submarine Industrial Base to increase production rates and submarine availability; and invests in the submarine industrial base workforce.

Kaine has led efforts to ensure the AUKUS agreement is implemented effectively. Because a significant portion of Virginia-class submarines are built in Hampton Roads, this agreement creates opportunity for further job creation and economic growth in the region. In July, Kaine hosted Australian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Kevin Rudd and U.S. Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven in Hampton Roads to discuss the importance of the AUKUS agreement and tour Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division and Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Kaine secured provisions to implement and strengthen AUKUS in the Senate-passed national defense bill and the SFRC-passed State Department authorization bill.

Border Security: Provides funding to deploy more non-intrusive inspection machines to detect fentanyl at ports of entry at the southern border and increase law enforcement personnel, immigration judge teams, and asylum officers.

Kaine has called for comprehensive immigration reform that would boost border security and more funding for resources to combat the fentanyl crisis. Kaine has introduced and passed the bipartisan Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Act to direct increased federal attention to fentanyl trafficking by declaring fentanyl trafficking a national security threat, utilizing Pentagon resources like counter-drug intelligence, and involving Mexico as an active partner to combat the crisis.

Israeli Security: Includes funding for Israel’s defense needs, such as resources to replenish Israel’s air and missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome, and resources to enhance U.S. embassy security.

Kaine has taken a series of steps to prioritize the release of hostages taken by Hamas, including directly engaging the Qatari and Egyptian governments, and to counter Hamas’ terrorist threats.

Humanitarian Assistance for Gaza and Ukraine: Includes funding for humanitarian aid for innocent civilians impacted by the war in Ukraine; the violence in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank; and other natural disasters and emergencies around the world.

Kaine led his colleagues in calling for a cessation of violence in order to ensure humanitarian assistance is reaching civilians in Gaza, and has been vocal about the need to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and protect civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Kaine’s amendment would strike a provision in the bill that waives congressional notice requirements for U.S. funding for Israel under the Foreign Military Financing Program, but leaves the notice mandate in place for arms transfers to other nations. If passed, the amendment would preserve the congressional notification process for Israel, just as congressional notifications are required for all other nations.

The amendment is supported by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark R. Warner (D-VA), as well as U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

Kaine has long been a leading voice calling for Congress to play an assertive and deliberate role in decisions related to war and peace. In December, Kaine raised concerns over the Biden Administration’s unnecessary circumvention of congressional oversight to transfer weapons to Israel. Also in December, Kaine’s bipartisan legislation to prevent any U.S. president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO without congressional approval was signed into law. Last year, the Senate voted to pass Kaine’s bipartisan legislation to repeal the outdated 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) that Administrations of both parties had used as a blank check to wage war across the globe, formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars, and reassert congressional war powers.