Dec 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration works around Congress in another Israel emergency weapons sale

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a news conference on Dec. 20, 2023. Photo: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration went around Congress on Friday for the approval of an emergency weapons sale to Israel that includes "projectiles and related equipment," per the Defense Department.

Why it matters: This is the second time in December that the administration has done so, and the move comes as Israel continues its war against Hamas and faces criticism for its military actions in Gaza.

Details: The Defense Department said in a statement on Friday Secretary of State Antony Blinken had "determined and provided detailed justification to Congress that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale" to Israel.

  • This waives "the Congressional review requirements" needed for selling defense equipment to other countries, per the department.
  • The sale includes ancillary items, such as fuzes, primers and charges, which amount to an estimated total of $147.5 million, according to the Defense Department.
  • The ancillary items make the 155mm shells that Israel previously bought functional, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Flashback: Earlier in December, the administration bypassed Congress in an emergency weapons sale to Israel that amounted to an estimated $106.5 million in almost 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has asked Congress for $106 billion in a package that would link aid between Ukraine and Israel.

Go deeper: Blinken expected to visit Middle East next week for talks on Gaza war

Go deeper