California’s Rep. Brad Sherman helps land $21M for U.S.-Israel joint programs

JWeekly, January 3, 2023 – LILLIAN ILSLEY-GREENE

A member of the House of Representatives from California is touting the $21 million he has helped secure for a series of collaborative programs between the United States and Israel in a recent spending package.

The funding — championed by Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat whose district includes the San Fernando Valley — represents the biggest amount ever going toward “U.S.-Israel Cooperative Programming” in the program’s history, according to a Sherman staffer.

The initiatives receiving funding, according to a statement on Sherman’s website, are seven joint research projects between the two countries. The funding was folded into the $1.7 trillion government spending bill signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 29 a few days after it passed Congress, averting a government shutdown. The bill included more than $44 billion in aid for Ukraine, among other Biden administration priorities.

Sherman helped obtain the funding by organizing dozens of members of Congress, including the Democrats’ new minority leader in the House, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, to sign letters in support of the programs.

Every American could benefit from breakthroughs that could come from this research.

Sherman’s funding includes $6 million for a U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation grant program, $4 million for a joint U.S.-Israel program focused on energy and water technology, and $3.1 million for a bilateral program for Covid-19 research and development. Four other joint programs focusing on agriculture, sustainability, and the energy and cyber industries received $2 million each.

These programs, which are not considered foreign “aid,” according to Sherman’s office, “leverage relatively small U.S. investments to create private sector and academic innovation,” and “often generate returns for the United States,” reads a statement on Sherman’s website. “The Israeli government  matches the U.S. investments,” the statement said, “so our research dollars go further.”

“It is important that we make Israel relevant, even to Americans who don’t focus on Middle East policy,” Sherman said in the statement. “Every American could benefit from breakthroughs that could come from this research.”

One of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid, Israel received $3.31 billion from the United States in 2020, according to the U.S. State Department. Afghanistan, another major recipient of U.S. aid in recent years, received $3.97 billion that same year, according to the same source. As of December, Ukraine had been provided $19 billion in U.S. security aid since the start of its war with Russia, according to the Congressional Research Service.