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Senate panel doubles money for Israel’s Iron Dome
First Published Jul 15 2014 10:40 am • Last Updated Jul 15 2014 10:40 am

Washington • Congress is showing tangible support for longtime ally Israel as Gaza militants fire rockets, backing a measure that would double the amount of money for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. In the latest hostilities between Israel and Hamas, Iron Dome has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths.

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"It works," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee.

Since 1988 and the early days of U.S.-Israeli cooperation on missile defense, presidents have proposed a specific amount for the program knowing full well that members of Congress will increase the funds, especially after they hear from Israel.

Overall, the defense bill would provide $549.3 billion for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The bill spares several of the weapons programs that the Pentagon had proposed scaling back or eliminating, including the A-10 Warthog, the close air support aircraft and the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

Durbin emphasized research and development within the military. The bill would provide $25 million to fund a competition to develop a new domestic rocket engine. Durbin said reliance on a Russian-built version made no sense.




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