Senate Clears Funding for Israel’s Iron Dome

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill during a press conference on the situation at the VA, on June 24, 2014.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill during a press conference on the situation at the VA, on June 24, 2014.

The last-minute measure won unanimous support ahead of August's recess. By Michael Catalini

The Senate on Friday passed an emergency spending measure for Israel’s missile-defense system, known as Iron Dome.

The last-minute, unanimous passage came after the Senate failed to clear a $2.7 billion emergency supplemental appropriation for the crisis at the U.S. southern border and $615 million for wildfires burning in the West.

The $225 million measure passed by unanimous consent, with both Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing their support for Israel, which is engaged in fighting with Palestinians in Gaza, where a cease-fire fell apart Friday morning.

By passing this bipartisan measure, we send a message to Hamas that its terrorist tactics and its attempts to terrorize Israel’s populace will not succeed,” McConnell said.

The passage underscores just how popular supporting the state of Israel is, especially in an election year when lawmakers are eager to tangibly demonstrate their support.

The move was not entirely unexpected. Leaders suggested earlier in the week that the funding for Israel could be split from the border-bill supplemental, and the disagreement over amendments that doomed the larger funding package did not extend to the money for Israel.

As a treasured ally, it’s important that we enable Israel to guard themselves against Hamas,” said Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, who with Reid and McConnell sponsored the bill.

The legislation, though, was not without some token opposition. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma sought to offset the cost of the funding, but ultimately did not prevail.

The measure was adopted unanimously, so Coburn or any senator could have objected to derail the bill.

The Senate remains in session, but no roll-call votes are expected, and members have already departed for the August recess. Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote Friday on its own border-security supplemental bill.

Several lawmakers said they saw no signs of a deal between the chambers that could result in the passage of a border bill.

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