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Congress To Take Five-Week Break Without Approving Iron Dome Funds

Jul. 31, 2014 - 04:14PM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
Preparations Continue For Restoration Of U.S. Capi
Congress was unable to agree on funding additional Iron Dome interceptors for Israel before leaving on recess. (Chip Somodevilla/ / Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — The US Congress will leave town for five weeks without providing hundreds of millions of dollars requested by Israel to replenish its Iron Dome interceptor missiles.

House Speaker John Boehner was forced to pull his $659 million border security supplemental on Thursday because he lacked ample Republican votes to pass the bill. Unlike its much larger Senate counterpart, it contains no funds for Iron Dome. The Senate, meanwhile, could vote Thursday on its $3.5 billion supplemental, which includes $225 million requested by Israel and the Pentagon for Iron Dome.

Even if that measure passes, however, any House movement on the Iron Dome funding will have to wait for September.

While there is wide support among members of both parties in both chambers for helping Israel in its renewed war with Hamas, the $225 million became doomed when Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., included it in her broader supplemental.

House GOP leaders said they support the Iron Dome funding, and hope it can be addressed “soon,” as one aide put it.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday floated the idea of passing three emergency spending bills this week, including one just featuring the Israeli missile money.

But what he brought to the floor was Mikulski’s bigger bill.

“Leaving here with Israel being naked as they are,” Reid said earlier this week on the Senate floor, “would be a shame if we did nothing.”

The Iron Dome system is built by Israeli companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, and many US lawmakers and officials want a US firm like Raytheon or Boeing to eventually begin co-production of the system. ■

Email: jbennett@defensenews.com.

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