WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as well as Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), announced that they are working on an amendment to require that the weapons received by any country under the proposed national security supplemental are used in accordance with U.S. law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict.
The Senators’ amendment also requires that the president report to the Congress on whether countries receiving military equipment paid for by American taxpayers meet that test and whether the use of U.S-supplied weapons comports with established presidential directives on arms transfers and Defense Department policies for reducing harm to civilians. And it would buttress current law that prohibits U.S. security assistance to any country that prevents or restricts U.S. humanitarian assistance to those in need, subject to a presidential waiver. The amendment does not apply to funds for air defense systems or other systems that the President determines will be used for strictly defensive purposes.
“Our country stands for freedom and democracy, and both are grounded in our firm belief that innocent civilians should never be the target of war. It’s imperative that this commitment extends to ensuring our weapons are used only in accordance with U.S. law, international humanitarian law, and the law of armed conflict. I stand by Israel and I also join my colleagues in insisting on the clarity that Israel’s enemy in Gaza is Hamas - not the children, not Palestinian civilians,” said Heinrich.
The Senators’ amendment:
Requires that the weapons received by any country under this bill are used in accordance with U.S. law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict.
- Requires that the president obtain assurances that any country receiving weapons through this bill cooperate fully with U.S.-supported efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, subject to a presidential waiver.
- Requires that the president report to the Congress within 30 days on whether each country receiving U.S. security assistance through this bill is:
- Using U.S.-funded military equipment in accordance with:
- Their intended purposes and U.S. end-use monitoring programs;
- international humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict, and U.S. law;
- the President’s 2023 Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy and the Defense Department’s Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR-AP);
- Clarifies that it does not apply to funds for air defense systems or other systems that the President determines will be used for strictly defensive purposes.