Five months after the Islamic State burned a Jordanian pilot alive in a cage, the House voted unanimously in an easy voice vote to expedite the sale of defense items to the Kingdom of Jordan, a gesture aimed at boosting the country's capacity to fight the terrorist group.
Members passed the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act, which amends U.S. law to add Jordan to a list of trusted allies that is eligible to receive needed U.S. defense items. The bill also calls for increased military cooperation and training exercises between the U.S. and Jordan.
It supports Jordan's effort to provide safe harbor for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have been displaced because of the Islamic State.
"In order to maintain the fragile stability in some of the countries in the region, we would need to help bolster the capabilities of our friends who are committed to defeating this radical extremist threat," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the lead sponsor of the bill, said on the House floor.
Ros-Lehtinen visited King Abdullah II of Jordan last year, and said he is committed to helping the U.S. fight the Islamic State.
"He stressed that he was willing to help lead the fight against ISIL, but he just did not have the sufficient military equipment with which to do so," she said.
A similar bill was proposed last year, but never made it out of the Senate. In February, the Islamic State released a video showing Jordanian Air Force pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseabeh being burned alive.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said Jordan is deserving of U.S. aid in light of how it reacted to that horrific event.
"When a Jordanian Air Force pilot was brutally murdered — burned alive in a cage — Jordan did not shrink, it did not retreat," he said on the House floor. "Instead, it took an even more active role in airstrikes against the ISIS threat."
House passage sends the bill to the Senate, which seems likely to quickly approve it in the coming days or weeks given the strong bipartisan support for the bill.