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Budd Introduces Bill to Consider Terminating Qatar’s Major Non-NATO Ally Status

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced the ‘Reviewing Qatar’s Major Non- NATO Ally Status Act’ alongside Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Rick Scott (R-FL).

The bill would require the Secretary of State to certify the following:

  • It is in the national interest of the United States for Qatar to maintain its designation as a major non-NATO ally;
  • Qatar has exerted any and all leverage it has over Hamas to secure the release of United States hostages from Gaza;
  • Qatar does not directly or indirectly support, financially or otherwise, acts of international terrorism or foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas; and
  • Qatar has expelled or agreed to extradite to the United States any individuals determined to be members of Hamas, including Ismail Haniyeh, Khalil al-Hayya, Khaled Mashal, and any other individuals bearing responsibility for the terror attack on October 7, 2023.

If the Secretary of State cannot make this certification in good faith, then the President is required to immediately terminate the designation of the State of Qatar as a major non-NATO ally.

The legislative text of the bill is HERE.

Sen. Budd said in a statement:

“I do not introduce this bill to consider terminating Qatar’s Major Non-NATO Ally designation lightly. It is not where I started on this relationship, but it is a reflection of where we are today and the warnings that Members of Congress have repeatedly given to Qatar about the liability of continuing to host Hamas. 

“Since October 7th, I have engaged privately and publicly with Qatar. At times, I have thanked them—including for the November hostage deal which included the release of some U.S. citizens. But, I have also been clear about expectations for Qatar’s relationship with Hamas and mediation of the hostage crisis moving forward.

“The United States expects its allies to use all leverage and exert all possible pressure to secure the release of our citizens when taken hostage. For more than six months, Hamas has held five U.S. citizens hostage in Gaza, as well as the bodies of three citizens believed to have been killed on or shortly after October 7th. Qatar has shifted from claiming it is exercising all leverage on Hamas to publicly stating that it has no leverage and promoting a ceasefire regardless of the release of hostages.

“On March 15th, a bipartisan group of Senators stated clearly, ‘If Hamas refuses reasonable negotiations, there is no reason for Qatar to continue hosting Hamas’ political office or any of its members in Doha.’ After multiple reasonable offers from Israel, Hamas has refused to accept any deal or even show flexibility on any terms.

“As such, Qatar must immediately expel or agree to extradite to the United States any individuals determined to be members of Hamas, particularly the leaders of its political office, which bear responsibility for the heinous attacks on October 7th.

“Major Non-NATO Ally status is a privilege and countries like Qatar must continuously earn. Failure to take action against Hamas is beginning to look like tacit support for a foreign terrorist organization designated by the United States. This is not acceptable behavior for a Major Non-NATO ally. Securing the release of the hostages demands strength and moral clarity. We demand it of our own leaders, and we should require it from our major allies.”


On October 25, 2023, Senator Budd first spoke about the hostage situation in Gaza on the Senate floor, where he announced his intention “to hold all humanitarian aid to Gaza until each and every American hostage is home and is safe.”

On November 6, 2023, Senator Budd met with Qatari Ambassador Meshal Al Thani in Senator Budd’s Washington, D.C. office. In that meeting, he strongly urged the Qatari government to use their leverage on Hamas leaders currently residing in Doha to immediately release all hostages, and hold those same Hamas leaders accountable once the hostage situation is fully resolved.

On November 26, 2023, Senator Budd reacted to the release of Keith Siegel’s wife, Aviva, saying, “While we are encouraged by the government of Qatar’s efforts to mediate the release of some of the hostages, we renew our call to their government to exert pressure on Hamas leadership to release each and every hostage immediately and unconditionally.”

On November 28, 2023, Senator Budd spoke on the Senate floor and called out Qatar for its continued hosting of Hamas terrorist leaders, saying, “We need to tell our friends in Doha loudly and clearly: Qatar is accepting a significant liability with its pro-Hamas policy.”

On December 13, 2023, Senator Budd sent a holiday message of support to the hostages and their families in a speech on the Senate floor, saying, “I want every one of these family members to know that our country is behind them, we support them, and we are praying for them.”

On January 10, 2024, Senator Budd returned from a congressional delegation (CODEL) to the Middle East, which included stops in Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and Bahrain. The focus of the delegation’s meetings across the region was on securing the release of hostages. 

On the trip, Senator Budd and his colleagues toured one of the communities devastated by the October 7th massacre by Hamas terrorists. He personally spoke with former hostage Aviva Siegel, and met with top Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad Director David Barnea.

Senator Budd then met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Prime Minister of Qatar, to whom Senator Budd sent a strong message that Qatar must do more to secure the immediate and safe release of all of the hostages.

On January 15, 2024, Senators Budd and Joni Ernst (R-IA) published an op-ed marking the 100th day of captivity for the hostages, writing, “As long as Americans remain captive to these barbaric thugs, the latter is the victor. Allowing Americans to suffer under the yoke of terrorists is a win for evil around the world and a boon for Iran’s proxies.”

On January 25, 2024, Senator Budd spoke on the Senate floor and delivered a sharp message to the government of Qatar: “Our patience has run out. Time is up. Either pressure Hamas leaders to release the hostages now, or expel them from your land. It’s that simple. The United States of America will be watching.”

On March 7, 2024, Senators Budd and Tillis invited the family of Keith Siegel to be their guests at the president’s State of the Union Address. Keith’s sister Lucy and niece Hanna have accepted the Senators’ invitation.

On March 15, 2024, Senator Budd joined a joint statement from Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as five other Senators stating, “If Hamas refuses reasonable negotiations, there is no reason for Qatar to continue hosting Hamas’ political office or any of its members in Doha.”

On March 26, 2024, Senator Budd and Senator Ernst issued a joint statement calling on the State of Qatar to immediately expel all members of Hamas’ political office currently residing in Doha.


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