Congress approves another $225M for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Divided on other issues, U.S. lawmakers united in support of Israel on Friday with the Senate approving another $225 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The House followed Friday night by voting 395-8 in favor of the measure.
Senate approval came as the chamber wrapped up work before going on its five-week summer recess.
The United States helped Israel create the missile defense system, which is credited with shooting down Hamas rockets in the current Gaza conflict.
“We could not go out for a month or five weeks and not act to help the Israelis replenish their supply of Iron Dome missiles,” GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters.
On Thursday night, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma blocked the Iron Dome funding requested by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel because it would add to the budget deficit.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina then spoke to Coburn — a notorious fiscal conservative — about the critical moment facing Israel, Graham said, adding that “to his credit, he let it go.”
With Coburn’s objection gone, the measure passed swiftly by unanimous consent on Friday morning just as the latest attempt at a cease-fire in the Gaza conflict was disintegrating.
Supporting Israel is a political necessity for many U.S. legislators, especially with congressional elections coming in November.
McCain called for the House and President Barack Obama to now also approve the Iron Dome money in order to show the people of Israel that “we will stand with them and that we will provide them with what they need in order to defend themselves.”