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.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Let the Israelis pay for their own defense.

  2. Rob in CT says:

    Wow, I get to agree with the House Republicans on something. What a strange feeling. πŸ˜‰

  3. superdestroyer says:

    Somewhere Pat Buchanan and Daniel Larison are smiling.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Yeah, too bad about the firefighting money. Oh well.

  5. mantis says:

    This is just more evidence of how anti-Israel Obama is.

  6. Michael says:

    It’s not a war. It’s fish in a barrel.

  7. edmondo says:

    And yet billion dollar tax subsidies for multi-national oil companies don’t seem to concern them at all? I wonder why?

  8. James Pearce says:

    It’s not every day you see the Republicans blocking aid to Israel, especially in the middle of a war.

    No shit, but then again….it’s hard to see how they would do this if the guy in the White House was a Republican.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    β€œI want to fund Israel,” replied Coburn. β€œI also want to make sure our children have a future.”

    So Tom, when you come back from recess you are going to introduce a bill making a college education affordable for all who want it? BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAA….

    Sometimes I just crack me up.

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It didn’t take AIPAC long to get to them.

  11. rodney dill says:

    America’s shortcomings as an ally…. not just for islamic states.

  12. dazedandconfused says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    When you’ve got the baby Jesus lead-blocking for ya it’s a touchdown every time.

  13. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    in other Iron Dome-related news… Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) voted against the support for the program because it would somehow threaten chances for peace or something, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) explained his vote by saying the Iron Dome system is an “atrocity,” and top UN Human Rights official Navi Pilay said that Israel’s not sharing the system with the Palestinians was a “war crime.”