WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Committee Chairman, introduced legislation today extending a program that provides American loan guarantees to Israel.

The loan guarantees help Israel raise private funds abroad at lower interest rates, which is especially critical in light of ongoing security threats facing the country.

“We in Congress continue to stand with Israel to help safeguard its financial security,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). “Just as we are committed to ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge, we must do what we can to protect Israel’s economic strength so it is able to address the many security threats it currently faces.”

The $9 billion loan guarantee program was initiated in 2003, and in 2006 was extended for an additional 5 years. The legislation introduced by Berman and Ros-Lehtinen would extend the program through September 30, 2015.

The remaining balance of loan guarantees is $3.8 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office reported that the Berman-Ros-Lehtinen legislation will have zero fiscal impact.