Senator Hawley applauds passage of S.1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (SASME)

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley applauded the Senate’s passing of S.1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (SASME) of 2019. SASME is a bipartisan bill to strengthen America’s security in the Middle East, sanction the Assad regime, and counter the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Senator Josh Hawley supported the legislation and released the following statement:

“It’s important that we remember who our friends are in the Middle East. This legislation strengthens U.S. security in the Middle East by boosting military support for Israel and Jordan, imposes new sanctions against the Assad regime, and reaffirms American support for Israel by making it easier for states and localities to approve laws to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement.”

Background (CRS Bill Digest)

This bill authorizes assistance and weapons transfers to Israel, and extends defense cooperation with Jordan. It establishes additional sanctions related to the conflict in Syria and allows states to divest from entities boycotting Israel.

The bill reauthorizes through FY2028 Foreign Military Financing to Israel. It extends loan guarantees to Israel through FY2023, and authorizes the President to transfer precision-guided munitions to the country.

The bill directs the Department of the Treasury to determine whether the Central Bank of Syria is a primary money-laundering concern and, if so, impose special measures on transactions involving the bank. The bill also imposes sanctions on individuals providing support for the Syrian government.

The bill allows a state or local government to adopt measures to divest its assets from entities using boycotts, divestments, or sanctions to influence Israel’s policies. Such measures shall meet various requirements, including those related to written notice and comment.

The bill extends through 2022 arrangements that allow certain defense articles to be transferred to Jordan on an expedited basis. The bill also directs the President to submit a report to Congress assessing the costs and benefits of establishing a fund to support private investment in Jordan.