Senators Rick Scott, Ted Budd & Joni Ernst Introduce Bill to Consider Terminating Qatar’s Major Non-NATO Ally Status

April 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Senator Rick Scott joined Senator Ted Budd in announcing the introduction of their Reviewing Qatar’s Major Non- NATO Ally Status Act alongside Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA). This legislation would require the Secretary of State to certify several requirements that verify Qatar is acting in alignment with U.S. policy or reconsider Qatar’s Major Non-NATO Ally Status. If the Secretary of State cannot make this certification in good faith, then the president is required to immediately terminate the designation of the designation. Read the full text of the bill HERE


Senator Rick Scott said, “Qatar has not been a good ally or partner to the United States for years and its recent behavior dealing with Hamas is telling. This is a so-called ally that hasn’t done squat to secure the release of American hostages while funding Hamas leaders' luxury lifestyles and allows its state-funded media to bash Israel and praise terrorists. Qatar enjoys many of the benefits of being an American ally, including hosting a U.S. military base. But if it won’t show up and prove themselves as an ally by doing everything possible to get our hostages home and putting an end to any support for terrorist organizations, it should face the consequences of its actions with the potential termination as a non-NATO ally.”


Senator Ted Budd said, “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.”


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.


Recently, Senator Rick Scott returned from his sixth trip to Israel, where he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other high-ranking officials to discuss the United States’ and Israel’s shared priority of destroying Iran-backed Hamas terrorists that have killed thousands of individuals, including Americans since the October 7, 2023 attacks. Read more HERE. Read more regarding every action and statement Sen. Scott has done in support of Israel following the October 7th Iran-backed Hamas terrorist attack: