Republicans Block Additional Funds To Israel For Iron Dome Over Deficit Concerns
In a move you don’t see everyday, Senate Republicans blocked a measure that would have increased aid to Israel, specifically directed to the Iron Dome anti-missile shield, because of concerns about the deficit:
In the end, the Senate couldn’t even agree to deliver emergency aid to one of the United States’ closest allies.
A last-ditch effort to deliver aid to Israel during its war with Hamas died on the Senate floor, as Republicans blocked the proposal over concerns that it would increase the debt.
After Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ $2.7 billion border aid package, which also included $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and $615 million to fight Western wildfires, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to split off the Israel and wildfire money as a standalone bill, hoping to put aside the dispute over border funding and appeal to Republicans’ deep ties to Israel.
“We’ve all watched as the tiny state of Israel, who is with us on everything, they have had in the last three weeks 3,000 rockets filed into their country,” Reid said. “Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked for $225 million in emergency funding so that Israel’s arsenal as it relates to the Iron Dome could be replenished. It’s clear that is an emergency, and we should be able to agree on that.”
It didn’t work.
Even though GOP leaders had vowed to pass an Israel aid bill in recent days, Republicans rejected Reid’s request. First Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected to Reid’s request for a straight emergency cash infusion for firefighting and Israel. Then Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an alternative that would deliver money to Israel and the West and offer commensurate spending cuts to international organizations like the United Nations; Reid blocked that.
“Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack. If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know anything that is,” Reid said.
“I want to fund Israel,” replied Coburn. “I also want to make sure our children have a future.”
The stumble on delivering $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which is used to shoot down rockets aimed at Israel, infuriated GOP hawks who’d been pushing Reid to break the Israel funding from the border bill.
It’s not every day you see the Republicans blocking aid to Israel, especially in the middle of a war.