Press Release

Welch Joins Sanders, Van Hollen, Merkley, and Colleagues in Urging President Biden to Enforce U.S. Law  

Mar 14, 2024

Under Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act humanitarian aid access must not be restricted, directly or indirectly, or U.S. assistance may be cut off 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and other democratic Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging his administration to enforce the federal law that prohibits foreign countries that receive U.S. assistance from restricting or otherwise prohibiting access to humanitarian aid in Gaza or risk forfeiting certain assistance. 
In the letter, the senators made clear that Netanyahu’s apparent interference in U.S. humanitarian operations in Gaza may violate Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, also known as the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act. The law states: “No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter or the Arms Export Control Act to any country when it is made known to the President that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.” 
To President Biden, the Senators wrote: “According to public reporting and your own statements, the Netanyahu government is in violation of this law. Given this reality, we urge you to make it clear to the Netanyahu government that failure to immediately and dramatically expand humanitarian access and facilitate safe aid deliveries throughout Gaza will lead to serious consequences, as specified under existing U.S. law.” 
“The United States should not provide military assistance to any country that interferes with U.S. humanitarian assistance,” the Senators continued. “Federal law is clear, and, given the urgency of the crisis in Gaza, and the repeated refusal of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address U.S. concerns on this issue, immediate action is necessary to secure a change in policy by his government.” 
The letter was also signed by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). 

Read the full letter