103123 Israel Supp Hearing 
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Questions Efforts to Counter Iran as Agent of Terrorism.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), at a hearing to review President Biden’s request for supplemental funding to support Israel and Ukraine, today sought details on the administration actions to curtail Iran’s “puppet master” role in funding, equipping, and training terrorist groups like Hamas.

The Senate Appropriations Committee hearing examined the national security components of the administration’s $105 billion request to support military and humanitarian assistance for Israel and Ukraine.  More than half of the $58 billion defense request would be used to replenish U.S. military stockpiles or invest in U.S. defense industrial base capacities.

“Iran has a long and well-documented history of being the primary funder of Hamas. Iran has supplied Hamas with funds, arms, missiles, drones, and other equipment, as well as training and technical expertise.  I find it extremely hard to believe that Hamas would have carried out its brutal attack on Israel without Iran’s knowledge,” Hyde-Smith said. 

“In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ attack, the administration claimed that it did not have evidence that Iran was involved.  Is this still this administration’s position?” Hyde-Smith asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III.  “Do you think they are the puppet master?”

Austin agreed that Iran controls terrorist militias throughout the region to “export mischief,” but maintained the administration has not seen evidence of Iran’s direct role in the planning of or decision by Hamas to launch the Oct. 7 assault on Israel.

Hyde-Smith questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the administration’s plans to curtail Iran’s ability to sell its oil and gas illegally to generate the revenue used to support terrorism.

“Iran continues to illegally sell more than $150 million in petroleum and petroleum products each day, primarily to China.  Iran uses these funds to support Hamas, Hezbollah, and other bad actors, while oppressing the Iranian people.  What more does this administration plan to do to curtail these sales?” Hyde-Smith asked.

Blinken asserted that the Biden administration is taking aggressive and continuous action to enforce U.S. sanctions on individuals and entities that facilitate Iranian energy sales.

As part of the hearing, Hyde-Smith also submitted questions for the record, including one that asked how the Biden administration will ensure that any supplemental funding will be “spent in a transparent and accountable manner, with clear metrics for assessing the impact of these resources.”

“I am hearing from my constituents in Mississippi about the price tag on the national security supplemental,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The terrorist attacks that ignited Israel’s war with Hamas were truly horrific and I want to support Israel in my role as a U.S. Senator, but I also have a duty to my constituents to ensure their taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately.”

Hyde-Smith also sought a commitment regarding industrial base investments to support the manufacturing of solid rocket motors, some of which are produced in Stone County.