Well, thank you very much. Ann Davis and her husband Jay, Marty and Judy Cogan, Steve and Melinda Wertheim, all of whom are here today, are my dear friends from Georgia. They're also members of AIPAC, who have done a great job of educating members of Congress like myself, about the miracle that is Israel.
In fact, I had the privilege to travel to Israel and see firsthand the miracle that is that great country. I've stood on the last Israeli outpost overlooking Gaza while they were firing missiles at Sderot. I've seen how close the proximity is to Syria and to Lebanon and what a close neighborhood it is. That's why I believe fundamentally, importantly that any nation like Iran, the Islamic fundamentalist republic of Iran, when it declares the destruction of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, then it has forfeited any right for any consideration to possess any material that could carry out that goal.
Last night Mitch McConnell made a unilateral statement of where we should be as a Congress, Republican and Democrat. When we have the evidence and the intelligence that Iran has the capability, we should declare the necessary legislation to give the president the full authority to see to it that's never exercised and that we take them on because they possess it and they have it or they're developing it.
I have been very pleased to work with Senator Boxer from California on a piece of legislation which will be introduced this week. You are going to the Hill today, and your job is to carry the message. And part of that message needs to be about what we call the Enhanced Cooperation Act of 2012 for the United States and Israel.
It states fundamentally and clearly and reaffirms our unwavering commitment as a country to the state of Israel, our unwavering commitment to see to it it has the material and the military capability to defend itself, our unwavering commitment to see to it that they get the cooperation from the United States to help pursue a two-state settlement as long as the neighbors of Israel recognize fully Israel's right to exist.
As Senator Levin said earlier, it commits us to a missile defense strategy that ensures Iran knows, if it makes an attack on Israel, it will be debilitated by the Israeli technology and missile defense system. It makes sure that we expand the strategic stockpile authorization from 200 million to 400 million so that Israel has United States material on the ground in Israel and can get permission to use it by the United States of America as it once in the past has already done.
It ensures that we foster more cooperation between NATO and Israel to ensure that all the world that loves peace, liberty, and freedom and the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness work together with the state of Israel to ensure its security and its longevity in this great world of ours.
Go tell that story today, when you talk to your Congressman and senator. It is an unequivocal statement of the United States' friendship and pledge of support to the state of Israel. There should be not a scintilla of wiggle room between a Republican or a Democrat, when it comes to the state of Israel and its security.
There is a second subject I want you to talk about. It's the 2007 commitment the United States made to Israel for a 10-year, $30 billion investment in the state of Israel and its ability to defend itself. President Obama has recommended this year in his budget $3.1 billion of that commitment, and we need to see to it that commitment is met. You know, there are a lot of people who question in difficult times spending American taxpayer money on foreign assistance. But when you talk about the state of Israel, it's not assistance. It's an investment in the security of peace, freedom, and liberty worldwide.
Ask yourself this question. How much money would it cost the United States of America if there wasn't an Israel, to be able to have a presence in the Middle East? 10 times more than the investment we make in Israel. When we went into Afghanistan after the attack of 9/11, we had to rent the Kyrgyzstan airport to be able to get our planes in. That doesn't put you in a very good position. We need to be sure we have a friend in the Middle East that is safe, secure, and an ally of the United States and has the military capability to defend itself and our joint interest in that region.
Now, lastly and equally important, Senator Graham has introduced a great resolution that definitively declares that containment is not a policy that works with a rogue nation. You can't just contain Iran's nuclear ambition. You have to prevent it.
And that's why when you take Senator Graham's resolution and combine it with a statement made last night by Mitch McConnell, any Ayatollah and any president knows there's no wiggle room in America when it comes to Iran. There will be no development of, use of, or deployment of any fissionable material for any purpose whatsoever as long as the state of Iran has the stated purpose in the terms of the destruction of the people of Israel and the Israeli nation.
In Washington, lobbying has a bad connotation. You're getting ready to go do some of it, but it's really not lobbying. You're telling your story. You're telling the story of your heritage and the future of your children and your grandchildren. You're telling the story that's the great miracle of Israel and what it takes with our two countries to commit to a future for Israel that is safe and secure and peace with its neighbors. That is not a lobbying for a benefit. It's not lobbying for anything. It's lobbying for a principle. It's lobbying for your future. It's lobbying for your heritage.
Tell the story with compassion and with sincerity and understand that there should be and there will not be, if you do a good job, a scintilla of light between Republicans and Democrats. We will be united, locked in arms, for the state of Israel and the security of the people of the state of Israel.
God bless you and thank you very much.