WASHINGTON ― Three Republican senators — including two former presidential candidates who’ve long criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi — introduced a bill on Tuesday that would halve funds for embassy security, construction and maintenance until the next president moves the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem.
The measure, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would scrap a waiver that three successive presidents have used to ignore a bipartisan 1995 law that required the embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999 or face funding cuts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who co-sponsored the 1995 bill, still supports moving the embassy, but didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether he supports the new bill.
President-elect Donald Trump has long vowed to move the embassy to Jerusalem. But there is a long history of presidential candidates making that promise before reneging once in office. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made similar campaign pledges but later decided against a move that would predetermine a critical component of peace negotiations.
Both the Israelis and Palestinians lay claim to Jerusalem, and its status is one of the most challenging issues in reaching a two-state solution. East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory and most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.