Senators Scott, Ricketts, Risch Lead 21 Colleagues in Demanding Supplemental Bill Ban U.S. Aid to UNRWA Given Hamas Ties

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, joined Senator Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and 21 of their colleagues in demanding any upcoming 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 to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell follows last week’s revelation that UNRWA staff were directly involved in the October 7th attack on Israel and Wall Street Journal reporting that around 10% of UNRWA’s staff have ties to Islamic 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,” the senators closed. “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.” 

In addition to Senators Scott, Risch and Ricketts, other signatories include Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Katie Boyd Britt (R-Ala.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

A copy of the letter can be found here.


Senator Scott has taken multiple steps to address this issue in the 118th Congress, including:

  • Authoring the Stop Support for Hamas Act with Senator Ricketts (R-Neb.) to cut U.S. funding for UNRWA and prevent bilateral U.S. assistance from winding up in the hands of Hamas terrorists;
  • Helping to introduce the UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to restrict UNRWA funding until the Secretary of State certifies that the agency or its successor meets strict accountability criteria; and 
  • Introducing the Preventing Terrorism at the U.N. Act to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations until UNRWA is abolished.

Senator Scott has unequivocally supported Israel, especially in light of Hamas’s October 7th attack, by:

  • Voting against and condemning Senator Bernie Sanders’s anti-Israel resolution;
    Championing S. Res. 417, a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the October 7th attack, which passed the Senate with near unanimous support;
  • Voting in support of the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included numerous provisions to increase U.S. security cooperation with Israel;
  • Introducing the Revoke Iranian Funding Act to permanently freeze the $6 billion released by the Biden administration to Iran and direct the Treasury Secretary to provide an accounting of all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions;
  • Meeting with victims of Hamas and members of victims’ families, hearing first-hand about the brutality inflicted by Hamas on innocent civilians, including innocent children;
  • Pushing for passage of his Solidify Iran Sanctions Act to extend sanctions on funding for Iran’s energy and weapons sectors and curtail the regime’s ability to develop its nuclear program and finance destabilizing activities;
  • Before and after the attack, leading dozens of Republican senators in holding the administration to account for its dangerous Iran policy;
  • Supporting the Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023, which would provide $14.3 billion of aid to Israel;
  • Introducing the Antisemitism Awareness Act, directing the Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating antisemitic acts on campus; and
  • Introducing the Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act to defund colleges and universities that enable violent antisemitism on their campuses.