Hoeven Continues Efforts to Stop U.S. AID to UNRWA

WASHINGTON Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today joined Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Jim Risch (R-ID) in pressing for “an immediate and permanent prohibition” of U.S. aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the national security supplemental bill.

The letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell follows last week’s revelation that 12 UNRWA staff were directly involved in the October 7 attack on Israel and Wall Street Journal reporting that around 10% of UNRWA’s staff have ties to Islamic militant groups. Since taking office, the Biden administration has given UNRWA upwards of $730 million.

“Let us be crystal clear: last week’s revelation that UNRWA staff members played a part in the October 7 attacks is not an example of a few bad apples acting out of turn,” the senators wrote. “Instead, it is emblematic of an organization where no investigation or subsequent corrective measures will ever be enough to cure the rot that is so clearly endemic to its mission.”

“As we consider ways to provide necessary assistance to Israel in its fight against Hamas terrorists, we request that any supplemental package include an immediate and permanent prohibition against U.S. contributions to UNRWA,” the senators closed.

The letter was signed by 25 senators including Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ted Budd (R-NC), John Barrasso (R-WY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Katie Boyd Britt (R-AL), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Full text of the letter is available here.

Hoeven is also a cosponsor of the UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act, legislation introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID) that would require the U.S. to withhold contributions to UNRWA unless the Secretary of State can certify that no UNRWA employees or contractors engage in terrorist activities or have ties to terrorist organizations.