Romney Joins Colleagues in Demanding Ban of U.S. Aid to UNRWA in Supplemental Bill

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined a group of his Republican colleagues, led by Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Jim Risch (R-ID), in sending a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) demanding that the national security supplemental bill include “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). The letter follows recent allegationsthat 12 UNRWA staff were directly involved in the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, and reporting by the Wall Street Journal that around 10% of UNRWA staff in Gaza have ties to Islamist militant groups.

“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.”

“The United States must permanently stop all contributions to UNRWA. Senate Republicans have introduced several bills this Congress to do just that, including the UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act. 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 concluded.

In addition to Romney, Ricketts, Scott, and Risch, other signatories include 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), John Hoeven (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), 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 can be found here.